Posts Tagged ‘Amy Lamare’

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CFB Week 5 and NFL Week 4 Picks!

October 1, 2010

Football Fiends-

All the picks will be in this one post because I am about to start a site migration off wordpress.com and onto a private host. Site SHOULD, if all goes well experience absolutely no downtime.

CFB Week 5

USC over Washington

Texas over Oklahoma

NC State over VA Tech

Notre Dame over BC

LSU over TN

Georgia over Colorado

ASU over Oregon State

FSU over UVA

Alabama over Florida

Iowa over Penn State

Nevada over UNLV

Oregon over Stanford

South Florida over Florida Atlantic

UCLA over Washington State

TCU over Colorado State

Mississippi over Kentucky

NFL Week 4 Picks

Atlanta over San Francisco

Jets over Buffalo

Cincinnati over Cleaveland

Green Bay over Detroit

Tennessee over Denver

Seattle over St Louis

New Orleans over Carolina

Pittsburgh over Baltimore

Houston over Oakland

Indy over Jax

Philly over Washington

San Diego over Arizona

Bears over Giants

New England over Miami


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To the Hawai’i fans present at Aloha Stadium: A Clarification

September 5, 2010

Dear Hawai’i fan holding the sign U Suck Cheaters,

Gee how creative you are. Jumping on the bandwagon of people lambasting a team that had nothing to do with the Reggie Bush-Lloyd Lake fiasco of 2004-2006. You do realize that in 2004 Matt Barkley was in 8th grade, right? That he and his fellow teammates were not members of the USC Football Team yet and wouldn’t be for many years?

You also do realize that Reggie Bush’s family getting all those shady benefits from the super shady Lloyd Lake had nothing to do with the Trojan football team’s on field success, right? You do realize that Reggie’s parents living in a house in San Diego that they didn’t pay for didn’t have any bearing on all the passes Matt Leinart completed, all the runs Lendale White had, all the catches Patrick Turner pulled down, right?  None of it had any bearing on Reggie Bush’s on-field performance, either.

In fact, an argument could probably be made that with all the shady shit going down in Reggie’s family at the time, he was distracted. Maybe without all of that, he’d have been even better. Maybe if all of that hadn’t been going on he would not have tossed that pass off to someone who’d never carried a ball before in the 2006 Rose Bowl National Championship Game vs Texas. Maybe, but we’ll never know.

NCAA rules say a player must complete three years before becoming eligible for the NFL draft. So Reggie would have been at USC, would have been the truly breathtaking player he was, and we still would have won all those games — whether or not Reggie and his family violated NCAA rules by taking money from Lloyd Lake.

So let me just spell it out for you, misguided Rainbow Warrior: USC did not cheat. Reggie Bush cheated. Reggie Bush’s step-father cheated. And unfortunately, kids that were in 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade when all of that happened are paying the price.

If you want to point a finger somewhere, I suggest you go to a New Orleans Saints game and heckle Reggie Bush. Legions of Trojan fans would love you forever if you did that.

Smooches,
Gridiron Goddess

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Watch This Space…

September 3, 2010

I have a rant I need to post about the Hawai’i fans AND a rant to SC fans who are whining about our (inexperienced) defense but both will have to wait until after work. It’s a WIN people, be happy.

Be HAPPY.

More later–

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The Official Gridiron Goddess 2010 Pac-10 Preview: Part 2

September 1, 2010

Getting it in just under the wire!!! FOOTBALL SEASON STARTS TOMORROW! OMG, Thank You gods of football for seeing us all safely through another long, long, long offseason.

The 2010 Pac-10 Preview: Conclusion

by Gridiron Goddess

WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS

Washington State. (What you can’t see is me shaking my head.) Well, I am not the first writer/blogger/fan to say this: They cannot get any worse. They really really can’t. There are 120 FBS football teams and last season the Cougars ranked 119th in total offense and 120th in total defense. Pitiful doesn’t even begin to describe the team they fielded last year in Pullman.

Last year’s Wazzou offensive line gave up 53 sacks.  I’m thinking sophomore QB Jeff Tuel has to be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome from all the times he went down last year. They did win ONE game last season, so I suppose the Cougars COULD get worse this year, but that is just beside the point.  It has to get better for Alumnus and Coach Paul Wulff. He took over in December 2007 and this year’s team will FINALLY contain players he recruited.

All eyes will be on Washington State this year, will this be the year the pathetic program finally turns around and contends for at least the middle of the Pac-10 pack?

Not this year. Look for Wazzou to improve a bit on both sides of the ball, but still finish dead last in the Pac-10.

Washington State opens its season at Oklahoma State on Saturday, September 4th.

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS

Dennis Erickson would appear to be on the hot seat, wouldn’t he? I mean he has all this talent, and each year the Sun Devils are SUPPOSED to contend for the Pac-10 crown and then… they fall apart. They implode. They self-destruct. (Shall I twist the knife in a little further Pat? Remember 1987? USC 55 – ASU 0. But I digress ;-)…)  Surely Erickson’s Sun Devils will have to improve on last year’s 4-8 record for his job to be secure.

This offseason, one of ASU’s issues was at quarterback. As in, who would the Sun Devil starting QB be. They waited until August 31st to name Michigan transfer Steven Threet the 2010 starting QB. Threet started eight games at Michigan in 2008 before transferring. Coach Erickson has not ruled out sophomore Brock Oseweiler seeing playing time at QB. Now doesn’t that just make you want to strangle him ASU Fans? Stop being so wishy-washy, pick a QB, pick a game plan and fricking STICK WITH IT. Erickson doesn’t seem able to just stick with a plan at ASU and that lack of consistency has been apparent in the on field results.

But hey- Threet also seems to suffer from this disease of indecision. ASU is his third school. He spent the Spring of 2007 at Georgia Tech before transferring to Michigan in 2008. At Michigan he was the leading passer in 2008, but he was not a good match for RichRod’s offense. So maybe this will be a match  made in heaven. A union of commitment-phobes.

My prediction is that only Wazzou will finish lower in the Pac-10 than Arizona State. And next season the Sun Devils will have a new coach.

Arizona State opens their season at home against Portland State on Saturday, September 4th.

UCLA BRUINS

Rick Neuheisel (and his big giant forehead) enters his third season as head coach of that team in Westwood. Their 2009 offense was ranked 88th in the nation. But let’s not forget this is a team that has been beset by QB injuries so severe it is almost comical. (OK, Let’s be honest, it IS comical for Trojan fans.) Even this season is not without injury, as QB Kevin Prince has a torn back muscle from camp that is still on the mend. Neuheisel and former SC assistant coach Norm Chow are installing their version of the Pistol offense in Westwood this season, which should prove to be a good move for the Bruins.  Prince will be backed up by sophomore Richard Brehaut with junior college transfer Darius Bell sitting on the third string. Bell is a more athletic QB who seems to be what UCLA needs for their new offense. Anyway, the point is, remember when UCLA lost two QBs in one pre-season practice? They’ve learned from that, and it shouldn’t happen again this year.

UCLA’s version of the Pistol offense is the Revolver, which looks to make use of a revolving QB plan – at least in the opener against Kansas State. Depth on the O-Line will be an issue for the Bruins with some academic ineligibility and injury issues hitting their bench. Oh and don’t forget the player (Xavier Su-a-Filo) who is on a LDS Mission. The starting five must stay healthy or Prince is in trouble.

On another note, UCLA has new road jerseys this year. Gone is the effeminate powder blue, replaced with navy blue (the stripes and numbers).

I’m thinking its a 7 win season for the Bruins.

UCLA opens its season at Kansas State on Saturday, September 4th.

CAL GOLDEN BEARS

Well Cal opens their season against powerhouse UC Davis, so that tells us a lot. I’m sorry, but I have no patience for big teams that schedule cupcakes. And plenty FBS teams do. (SEC I am looking at you. Try scheduling Ohio State instead of Louisiana-Monroe for f’s sake. But I digress… again…) Anyway, back to Cal.  Cal’s QB is Kevin Riley and he is the key to their success. When Riley is on, Cal wins. When Riley is off, Cal falls apart. And consistency has never been Kevin Riley’s strong suit.  Wide receiver was one of the weak spots on last year’s team and was a big factor in Riley’s lack of consistency.  True freshman wideout Keenan Allen could go a long way towards bringing some much needed consistency to Riley’s offense. Allen is the most highly-rated recruit Coach Tedford has ever had.

Of course, Cal’s running game has a huge hole where first round draft pick Javid Best used to run his plays. Shane Vereen is another running back out of Berkeley who looks to fill Best’s shoes for the Golden Bears.

Cal also has some mental weak spots. They were blown out five times last season and when they get too far down, the mistakes grow even greater and build upon each other until they have a near disaster on their hands. This also speaks to some offensive consistency. That WILL go a long way to healing what ails Tedford’s Golden Bears.

Defensively, Cal was decent against the run in 2009, but struggled against the pass. Cal has one of the best linebackers in the Pac-10 in Mike Mohamed, but the other three LB spots in the Bears’ 3-4 D are green. Time will tell, I suppose.

Cal opens the season at home against UC Davis on Saturday, September 4th.

WASHINGTON HUSKIES

Make no mistake, USC will be out for revenge on October 2nd at the Coliseum. Last season’s shocking loss to the Huskies at the hands of former USC Assistant Coach Steve Sarkisian HURT, y’all.  But that aside, let’s give Coach Sark a big round of applause. In 2008, UDub went 0-12 and last season they went 5-7, which by any other standard would not be a good season but after the slide into the depths of suckitude the Huskies had been on for a number of years, 5-7 was something to celebrate.

We will know soon if the 2010 Huskies will be an even better team as they open their season at BYU. Talk about trial by fire. But then, Washington is not one to schedule patsies even in their down years.

QB Jake Locker is making a run for the Heisman and the hype alone should do a lot to elevate this Husky team and make them hungry for wins. The team returns all five starters on the offensive line – led by all-conference candidate Jermaine Karse. Sophomore Chris Polk started last year at tailback, wide receiver and defensive back and was the first freshman in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards.  All reports on the Husky defense are that they were a pleasant surprise in training camp.

2008 was rough and had Coach Sark not gotten in there and turned it significantly around, things could have been bleak for years for the Huskies. After last season, they know how to win. And last season many of their seven losses came by just a few points. This year, they will know how to close the gap and the Huskies should be bowl eligible for the first time since 2002 at season’s end.

Washington opens its season at BYU on Saturday, September 4th.

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The Official Gridiron Goddess 2010 Pac-10 Football Preview: Part 1

August 30, 2010

PAC 10 Preview 2010

by Gridiron Goddess

The long, cold, dark days of the off-season are almost over. And what an off-season it’s been! NCAA Sanctions (ugh), coaching defections, quarterback scandals; a new commissioner and expansion have all been news stories this spring and summer.

USC won’t be playing in a bowl game for a couple of seasons, unless they successfully appeal the sanctions. Lane Kiffin may want to rethink his son’s name of Knox now that he is once again a son of Troy. Jeremiah Masoli is no longer quacking like a duck, having been dismissed from Oregon. New Pac-10 Commish Larry Scott has hit the ground running. For a few moments we were almost the Pac-16 with Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as a part of our conference of champions. In the end though, only Colorado lept at the chance to join the Left Coast’s Premiere Athletic Conference. Soon after Utah left the MWC, a conference they’d long since outgrown, to join the new Pac-12.

How the conference will be divided, where the championship game will take place, etc are all yet to be determined and the topic of interesting debates. Myself, I’m a fan of the North/South division with California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, AZ and ASU in one division and the Washingtons, Oregons, Utah and Colorado in the other division. This keeps traditional rivalries like the Civil War, Apple Cup, Cal-Stanford and USC-UCLA in place for yearly matchups. That seems the most logical to me, and yet, that is not the setup that has hit the rumor mill.

For the 2010 season we’re still the Pac-10, so let’s get on with it and pardon me if I can’t muster up my usual enthusiasm. I am sure you understand why. It’s been a rough spring and summer for USC fans. I am sick of all the speculation and talk about USC’s sanctions. I am ready to just PLAY already and see how it all shakes out.

USC TROJANS

This is a hard one to call folks. Of course USC has talent. And I do think the coaching staff will turn out to be insane. Forget what everyone says about Lane Kiffin. With Monte, Coach O and Kennedy Pola (who is Troy Polamalu’s uncle) – how can we go that wrong? Sure there are the sanctions. The loss of scholarships. The transfers and releases from letters of intents. The behavior issues (as of today Freshman safety Patrick Hall has been suspended indefinitely). USC is going to lack their trademark depth for a few years. And that is troubling, to say the least. Especially once injuries are factored in.  In fact, Coach Kiffin now has the Trojans practicing NFL style – as in tackling is a scrimmage only event. As he said, the team just can’t risk injury like it could in past years. They are basically playing with an NFL roster rather than the larger roster an NCAA team is permitted to have.

Matt Barkley showed remarkable poise and leadership as a freshman last year and he’s back and a year older. That can only be good. He’s got the exceptionally seasoned Mitch Mustain behind him on the depth chart. Fullback Stanley Havili is back, a senior and will be a key factor in Barkley’s passing game. Havili is a fifth year senior and the most experienced member of the Trojan offense.  Marc Tyler is getting the start at RB vs Hawaii.

In terms of the SC defense, the front seven are the experienced group, with the secondary being the less experienced players.  Senior cornerback Shareece Wright will be joined by freshman cornerback Nickell Robey and sophomore safeties T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling. This is, per the usual, a gifted group. They just lack USC’s usual depth and they will have some growing pains. Whereas USC’s offense has struggled at times in the last two seasons; we’ve been able to rely on our defense when it counted. This year, it may be the offense we rely on while the defense gets its engines all firing in the right direction.

Oh and by the way, USC still hasn’t lost a game outside of the Pac-10 since 2002 and it won’t be happening this year either.

The key to the Trojans’ success in 2010 begins and ends with Matt Barkley. And this Trojan Alum happens to think if the success of our program is in Barkley’s hands, then we’re in good shape.  A pal in Vegas told me the odds on USC are for a 10 win season. So come on Trojans, let’s give them an 11 or 12 or 13 win season just to show them what we’re made of. Pride. Heart.  Spirit. Let’s show them that the USC Football team embodies all the qualities of an ideal Trojan: Faithful, Scholarly, Skillful. Courageous and Ambitious.

USC opens its 2010 season on Thursday, September 2nd @ Hawaii.

STANFORD CARDINAL

Will Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal (why the singular, Stanford?) take advantage of USC’s sanctions and Oregon’s QB issues and win the Pac-10? Not likely. But you can bet your ass Harbaugh’s big fat mouth is telling his players that they are the team to beat. And let’s face it, confidence and swagger do count. The loss of Toby Gerhardt makes their running game a bit of an unknown, but QB Andrew Luck looks to make a Heisman bid of his own this season. Luck is projected to be a potential #1 draft pick in 2011, and with Gerhardt gone we’ll get a chance to see him truly shine.

I personally believe that Stanford minus Gerhardt will have a tough time matching last season’s eight wins. But they won six Pac-10 games last season, you’re thinking. Yes they did. However, their defense is fairly atrocious. Stanford’s 2009 defense was ranked 110th against the pass last year – this year’s squad has LESS experience. And look around the Pac-10 – a lot of Stanford’s opponents have offenses that will only be more potent than last year in their experience under center. It’s hard to think that Stanford will be as successful this year as they were last year unless their defense has improved dramatically.

That said, if they haven’t improved – there should be a number of high scoring QB shootout style games vs Stanford in the Pac-10 this year and those are ALWAYS fun.

Stanford opens the season at UCLA on Saturday, September 4th.

OREGON DUCKS

The Ducks have not had the easiest of off-seasons. When the 2009 season ended (and who can forget the Halloween smack down of my beloved Trojans?!), they looked to be sitting on top of the Pac-10 pile for 2010 with phenom QB Jeremiah Masoli under center. Yeah, not so much. A few months later and things look mighty different up in Eugene. Masoli is now at Ole Miss.

All spring and summer speculation about who the Ducks staring QB would be swirled around the blogosphere. Would it be senior Nate Costa? That seemed to be the logical choice, since he was experienced. Would it be sophomore Darron Thomas – he would seem the best choice if Coach Kelly were trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle that Masoli (and before him Dennis Dixon) was.

The Ducks are a veteran team, returning 18 starters for 2010. Running back LaMichael James looks to be a major force for the Oregon offense and their experienced O-Line will keep the new QB well protected in the pocket.  On defense, well the Ducks are not especially known for their defense though it is certainly serviceable and solid. With the insanely fast and powerful offenses the crew from Eugene has fielded in recent years – that’s what they’ve become known for.

The Ducks will be a contender in the Pac-10 and even with a new QB and all kinds of off-season drama, they are still the favored to repeat as Pac-10 champs.

Oregon opens its season at home against New Mexico on Saturday, September 4th.

OREGON STATE BEAVERS

Jacquizz Rodgers. Damn. He still sparks fear in the hearts of Trojans. Wily little motherf*cker. Hell of a player. Oh wait, there’s more to Oregon State than Quizz Rodgers? Alright then.

Sophomore Ryan Katz takes over as QB for the Beavers and has a cannon of an arm. Then, of course, there are the Rodgers brothers. Jacquizz ran for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. Oh and he also had 78 catches for 522 yards and a touchdown as well. James, on the other hand, had 91 catches for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns. Oh, and James is a frightening return man. Frightening if you’re the team on defense, that is. The O-Line returns four starters and should provide good protection for their new QB.

Oregon State is another Pac-10 school known for its explosive offense who is just average on defense. Last season the Beavers defense ranked 84th against the pass. They ranked 105th in sacks. That’s not too scary.

Oregon State opens their season against TCU at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, September 4th.

ARIZONA WILDCATS

Arizona under Mike Stoops has been quietly and gradually improving over the years. So much so, that The Wildcats could very well be a sleeper contender for Pac-10 champion in 2010. I would not be at all surprised if come January 2011, Arizona has turned in a 9 win season.

QB Nick Foles heads a Wildcat offense that returns much of last year’s squad. Foles took over the QB job during the 2009 season and went on to throw for 2,486 yards and 19 touchdowns while going 6-4 as the starter. All three of Arizona’s threatening running backs return for 2010. Nic Grisby is possibly the most talented of the group but  missed much of last season due to injury. Combined with Keola Antolin and Greg Nwoko, the ‘Cats are a threat with the run.  The Wildcats receiving corps is depleted this year; but Juron Criner looks to be the breakout star of the group of WRs left in Tucson.

Arizona has had a stifling defense for a few years now. This year they come back with five of their starting front seven from a year ago lost to graduation and/or the NFL. Senior DE’s Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed are back for 2010 and are quite simply the best defensive ends in the entire Pac-10. Not many offensive lines can match the size and power in these two Arizona players. Arizona also lost half of a very strong and consistent secondary, but look to reload with Trevin Wade and Robert Golden.

Arizona has not been to the Rose Bowl in 31 years. You can bet your ass the Wildcats have their eyes trained on that particular prize this season.

Arizona opens their season at Toledo on Friday, September 3rd.

Part 2 of The Official Gridiron Goddess Pac-10 Preview will be up Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Guest Post: ‘Nole Chick’s ACC Atlantic Division 2010 Preview

August 23, 2010

ACC Atlantic Division

By ‘Nole Chick

Ever since the ACC expanded to form a “powerhouse” conference, I think most fans (including myself) are tired of waiting for it to happen! Now that Atlantic division new coaches have some experience notched and no more coaches in waiting, we might start to see a powerhouse glimpse this season. As we bid farewell to a legend, Bobby Bowden, this could be a very interesting year for the conference!

Clemson Tigers

Now that Dabo Swinney has some experience under his belt with the Clemson Tigers, the team seems to be heading in the right direction. The 2009 season started on shaky ground for the program, but ended well with the Tigers winning the their division and their bowl game. Clemson had to replace C.J Spiller and have 2 eager running backs ready for the job in Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper. The Tigers start the season with young quarterbacks that will need to find consistency and some maturity to make it to the championship this year. On defense, safeties DeAndre McDaniel and Rashard Hall combine as corners that are perhaps the best in the NCAA. The real run for Clemson will be beating the other top contenders to win the division, FSU and Boston College on the road. The Tigers also play Georgia Tech and Miami from the Coastal division that will be a test for the Tigers but at least the play them at home.

Boston College

The Eagles have always been one of those “fly under the radar” teams. They win consistently every year, but never get a lot of chatter about them. They have won at 7 games or more in the past 11 seasons.  The ended up in 2nd place in the ACC. Frank Spaziani will be going into his 2nd season at BC with a lot more confidence. Mark Herzlich has beaten the cancer that kept him off the field last year and you can bet on an emotional return to the field for him come September. He has been practicing but with no contact so what can he bring to the table this season on defense is still a big question mark. On the QB scene, there is the 25-year-old Dave Shinskie and the sophomore Mike Marscovetra returning as the starter and back-up respectively. Look for Marscovetra to turn it on this year as he tries to upend Shinskie from the starting position. Last year, BC was ranked 116th in 3rd down conversions. The O-line and QB’s need to take the maturity they are bringing to the field this year and focus on improving that stat. RB Montel Harris returns after a 1457 yard season last year. Schedule wise, BC has VT and Clemson at home along with Notre Dame. The other test will be on the road against FSU. BC starts the 2010 season with veterans and maturity and should be a division winning contender.

Florida State University

Now we come to FSU. My love! I will say that the preseason ranking is a bit of a stretch. They are coming off of another mediocre season and has a defense full of issues. There is a lot of hoopla surrounding the head coach Jimbo Fisher and what he can do with this team now that he is no longer the coach in waiting. The recruiting improved to levels seen years ago under Bowden in the FSU hay day. On offense, Christian Ponder returns at QB with lots of talent and maturity. He has a seasoned O-line returning, including all-star stud LG Rodney Hudson,  which will give him the edge and support this year to be an excellent QB.  In the running back department, on the surface it appears that FSU is pretty loaded. Last year’s leading rusher left the team due to competition in the position. On defense, this is where FSU used to have it’s swagger. Greg Reid will be the player to watch and hopefully ignite this lackluster team. LB Nigel Bradham returns as well and gives the Noles the boost they will need on tackles. Having Mark Stoops on the defensive coach has to help this team. Way too many points scored on them last year. The schedule will be tough for FSU. OOC is Oklahoma on the road, BYU and Florida at home.  FSU has Miami on the road as well. Top contenders for the division title is FSU, Clemson, and BC. FSU has both Clemson and BC match-ups at home. FSU went from dominating the ACC title to not even winning a division title in 5 years. Rebuilding should be over. It is time for this team to step it up a lot.

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons had a losing season in 2009 for the first time in 4 years. They didn’t get anyone of note in their recruiting class this year and lost a ton of veterans. QB Riley Skinner graduated last year leaving Skylar Jones and Brendan Cross to vie for the starting position. On offense, they have 2 potential stars in backs Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass. The O-line for Wake appears to be weak again this year. WR Devon Brown returns after a 600 ++ yard season. Defensively, look for Kyle Wilber to return strong after missing most of last year with a broken leg. Schedule wise, Wake goes on the road to FSU, but OOC is Presbyterian, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Navy. If they were a little more seasoned, they might have a shot at post – season play and may still have a shot with what should be easy wins against Duke, Presbyterian, Maryland, etc,

North Carolina State

NC State has had 3 seven loss seasons in a row. They lacked a defense and a running game in all 3 of those years and this season should prove to be no different. At least they are consistent on something! The team is young and inexperienced. QB Russell Wilson returns with confidence and poise that relics that of Philip Rivers. However, rumor has it the MLB wants him for his talents in baseball. If that happens, this team is as good as done. On defense, LB Nate Irving returns after a season long injury. NC State’s biggest issue last season was turnovers. They gave up the ball 25 times. Schedule wise, not super tough. Notable game will be against BC in which NC State’s coach Tom O’Brien voluntarily left his coaching position at BC to go to NC State. OOC games include Western Carolina, UCF, Cincinnati, and East Carolina.

Maryland Terrapins

Maryland returns this year after a 2 – 10 season. Not pretty. Shockingly, Ralph Friedgen somehow kept his employment after that season. This was a coach who was very successful at Maryland at one time. It has been 7 years since this team has been talented. On offense, QB Jamarr Robinson returns this year as the starter.  WR Torrey Smith returns as well after a 824 yard season. RB Da”Rel Scott returns as a senior. He has been plagued with injuries so his value is yet to be determined. Defensively, Alex Wujciak leads the team in tackles last year at 131. Schedule wise, they have some cake teams suck as FIU and Morgan State at home. Additionally, they have Navy at home and West Virginia on the road in their OOC play. They also have Duke and NC State at home.

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Guest Post: Walker Sports 2010 NFC South Preview

August 19, 2010

Walker Sports NFC South 2010 Preview

by Dumont J Walker III

Brett Favre has returned to the NFL, and all is right with the world of football. Now, if September 12, would hurry up and get here, we can get this season underway. Till then you’ll just have to settle for this NFC South Preview.

New Orleans Saints: A great man once said, “To be the man you have to beat the man.” For the New Orleans Saints, that’s exactly the case. They are sitting atop the mountain, and until someone can knock them off they will remain there. The obvious thing to talk about when looking at the Saints is Drew Brees, and the high powered offense he leads. Brees has undergone an amazing transformation during his time in the NFL, from underrated, to one of the best in the game. You can expect with Sean Peyton calling the plays that Drew Brees will once again be lightning up NFL scoreboards, and torching opposing DB’s with his lethal passing. The key to success in 2010 will be the most overlooked part of the Saints offense, their running game. Last year New Orleans used a group of running backs to get this job done, and you can expect it to be more of the same in this year. Reggie Bush of course will gardener the headlines and make the electrifying plays, but the real treat this year will be when Bush mans up and starts taking carries between the tackles.

Gregg Williams was ran out of Washington by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, and he has landed happily in the Big Easy, where he has built one of the most fierce defenses in the NFL. The Saints defense is all about applying pressure to the quarterback. The Saints attack and blitz, with wreck less abandon and inflict mental and psychological damage on opposing QB’s. The idea is to traumatize the opposing QB enough. And eventually he will make a mistake. Don’t think it works? Just look what the Saints defense did to two future Hall of Famers in Brett Favre and Kurt Warner in during last year’s post season. The Saints defense plays boarder line dirty in the way they attack a quarterback. They want to get their hands on a QB, and put him in the dirt as much as possible. This is a great tactic, and as long as opposing teams continue to grant the Saints access to their QB’s this defensive philosophy will work.

Atlanta Falcons: You can add the Atlanta Falcons to the list of sheik teams that NFL writers love to talk about. Matt Ryan had a bit of a sophomore slump last season, I use that term loosely, and in his third year he ready to emerge as an elite quarterback in the NFL. Helping Ryan out this season will be tailback Michael Turner who will return to the normal rotation after spending a good chunk of last season on the bench with injuries. There is no doubt, that a big reason behind Ryan’s drop in production was the result of not having his Pro-Bowl caliber running back behind him. While the Falcons will be happy to have Turner back in the mix of things, he is not the only weapon Matt Ryan has at his disposal. The Falcons have one of the great emerging receivers in the league in Roddy White, and they also have arguably the best tight end of all time in Tony Gonzalez. To sum things up, the Falcons have the offense to produce and you can put me on the record for stating the Atlanta Falcons will make the Wild Card this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs were the youngest team in the NFL last season, and while I’m not positive about it, I’m pretty sure Tampa Bay is close to that mark once again. Nonetheless, the Bucs got a chance to “blood” a lot of their young players last season. None more so than rookie quarterback Josh Freeman who was forced to leave for the NFL a year early after a coaching change at Kansas State. While showing plenty of rookie inexperience last year, it was Freeman who got the Bucs their first win on the 2009 season in an amazing come from behind win against Green Bay. Freeman would go on to lead the Bucs to three wins during his rookie campaign. Not Big Ben taking the Steelers to the Super Bowl, but impressive considering how bad Tampa Bay was during the early part of the season. Freeman showed glimpses of promise last season. There is no doubt he has the physical tools to be a playmaker in the NFL, the question is can he adapt to the speed of the game, learn how to read the complex defenses that will be thrown at him?

Raheem Morris had a rocky first year as a head coach. However, starting the season 0-8 will do that to you. As the season progressed it appeared that Morris was able to get a grasp on what was going on, and how to manage games. Morris is a defensive guy, and he drafted a powerhouse in Gerald McCoy in the first round of the 2010 draft. While I’ll save the Warren Sapp compression till McCoy actually plays there is no doubt he will add a big impact to the Bucs defensive line and their pass rush. If Morris can get the Tampa Bay defense to playing like they did in the early part of the 2000’s it’s possible they can pick off a few extra wins, and with some help, maybe flirt with the .500 mark.

Carolina Panthers: It wasn’t too long ago that the Panthers were perennial playoff participants, and Super Bowl contenders, but that was before Jake Delhomme fell off the tracks. After a disastrous year, Delhomme is out, and the Panthers are looking to usher in a new era at quarterback. The problem is they aren’t exactly sure who will lead that era. Dallas Cowboy castaway Matt Moore stepped in late last season to replace Delhomme and picked up four wins for the club. However, that was not enough to give him the starting quarterback job outright. Thanks to a crashing draft stock, former Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen fell into Carolina’s lap and the Panthers have themselves a good old fashion quarterback controversy.

While it’s most likely that Matt Moore will start the season as the Panthers starting quarterback, one has to expect he will be on a short leash. Anytime there is a hotshot young quarterback standing on the sidelines, he instantly becomes the fan favorite as soon as the starter throws a pick. I never believe that a team that finds itself in this situation can be productive on the field. The starting QB is constantly looking over his shoulder wondering when he will get the ax. Once the young backup comes in, far too often they are not ready to step into the starting role and find themselves playing behind the 8-ball.

Adding to the Carolina Panthers problems for the 2010 season is a lame duck coach in John Fox. Ownership in Charlotte has let it be known they are not looking to renew the longtime coach’s contract. However, they were reluctant to let him go after last season. Now baring a Super Bowl appearance Fox will not be back for 2011.

In a nutshell the Carolina Panthers are a mess, which is a shame because there is still a lot of talent on that team. Deangelo Williams is entering a contract year and you can bet he will have another solid season. The same can be said for backfield running mate Jonathan Stewart. It’s a shame that two of the league’s best running backs have to languish on such a tepid team; it must be what Steven Jackson feels like out in St. Louis.