#Road2Arlington Survive and Advance #CFBPlayoffs here we come

JAMEIS WINSTON SUSPENSIONAt the start of the 2014 college football season many teams appeared to be unbeatable and apparent shoe-ins to punch their #Road2Arlington tickets to the inaugural College Football Playoffs. The close calls in week four has all but destroyed these cloaks of invincibility. The Auburn Tigers high octane sputtered in Manhattan but was bailed out by a dominant run defense and uncharacteristic miscues by the Kansas State Wildcats missing three field goals and two sure handed touchdown passes.

The Oregon Ducks offense may not have been as abysmal but the Ducks offensive line was dominated by the Washington State Cougars defense who sacked the frailWAZZU SACKED Heisman front runner Marcus Mariota seven times, who had to run just to survive. The Ducks defense was a complete no show surrendering 480 yards in passing alone. The Ekpre-Olomu Darrell Revis comparison from this summer looked downright laughable as he was victimized frequently as Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday showed little fear attacking the All American corner.

EDDIE GOLDMAN FUMBLEWhile the Ducks were saved by Mariota the Florida State Seminoles nearly lost because of the selfishness of Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The nations longest winning streak was on the verge of being snapped until defensive tackle Eddie Goldman saved their season and as well as their championship hopes when he caused a fumble with his bear claw.

Routes come and go but these close calls were a huge wake up call for several title JAMIES WINSTON SIDELINEcontenders. Although battered, bruised and humbled these week four close calls will either bring the team together or serve as a sign of things to come. The diagram their championship demise is no secret and their adversaries smell blood: Auburn can not run; Oregon cannot protect or defend; and poor FSU who knows what Winston will do next. Upsets are inevitable, the only question is who will be next victim? Stay tuned…I know I will.

Road2Arlington: Oregon Ducks, fast start dissapointing finish

ducks push upsYear in and year out the Oregon Ducks begin each season with championship aspirations only to have their title hopes slip through their grasps. The Ducks offense begin each season at a record breaking pace, but they are apparently done in by their own fast pace. Although Pac 12 Championships and BCS bowl appearances may make them the envy of many, those accomplishments have left many in Eugene, Oregon yearning for more. Despite falling short yet again National Championship aspirations were renewed when All American quarterback Marcus Mariota and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu said no to the NFL and yes to the Ducks.

Before sputtering to the finish each Saturday had become a Mariota showcase filled withmariota scores one jaw dropping play after the other. Each night his talents left NFL scouts salivating as he ran past helpless defenders and made them pay with his arm when they dared him. Although more highlights are certain, after suffering a mild MCL sprain Mariota will wisely slide more and rely on his legs less. Mariota’s reduced load will lead to more carries for the best running back duo in the nation in Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. The Ducks may boast the best backfield in the country but they alone will not punch their ticket to the Inaugural College Football Playoffs. Pass catchers must be found and fast to replace Addison who was lost for the season due to injuries. Dwayne Stanford has the size, Keanon Lowe has the hands, and Chance Allen has the world class speed although unproven one thing is ducks defensecertain, the talent is there.

Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti has been the face of the Ducks defense for decades but a new era begins in 2014. The cupboard is far from bare, the defensive line may be the envy of every team out west. Lead by Arik Armstead they have the size the depth to do great things but they must first show that they are tough enough.  Despite several losses in the secondary has the potential to be special led by first round lock Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

marcus mariota injuredHistory suggest that scoring will not be a problem but can Mariota shake Ducks qb injury curse, Dennis Dixon were not so fortunate. In the wild wild west the Ducks defense must be more than just fast, in the drenches they trust. Led by Coach Mark Helfrich the Ducks have the talent but can they be consistent. Will the Ducks fly high on their Road2Arlington or sputter to the end as they have done so many times before? Stay tuned…I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

 

Seminoles win BCS Championship, will they repeat or be dethroned in 2014?

seminoles bcs champsTonight a champion was crowned but after the confetti and parades are done the real work begins for the National Champion Florida State Seminoles to defend their crown. Winning back-to-back titles will be more difficult than ever due to the 4-team playoffs which is debuting next year.

Although the Seminoles return Heisman winner Jameis Winston, we learned tonight that titles are won and lost in the trenches and in the secondary. The Seminoles will certainly be everyone’s Pre-Season #1 but who will be their biggest challengers in 2014?

  1. Florida State Seminoles: Why? Jameis Winston Why not? No Jernigan, Joyner, Green, or Shaw. Biggest reason: 4-team playoff.
  2. Oregon Ducks: Why? Marcus Mariota. Why not? Stanford Cardinals
  3. Auburn Tigers: Why? Marshall will only get better. Why not? Defensive coordinators having an entire off season to prepare.
  4. Ohio State: Why? Braxton Miller. Why not? Braxton Miller
  5. Oklahoma Sooners: Why? Budding star Trevor Knight. Why not? Saunders and Shepard are out of elgibility.
  6. Alabama Crimson Tide: Why? Nick Saban and Derrick Henry. Why not? No AJ Mcarrons, a questionable secondary and no pass rush.
  7. Stanford Cardinals: Why? Coach Shaw and the Stanford O-line. Why not? Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Oregon, and no playmakers besides Montgomery.
  8. Baylor Bears: Why? Coach Briles and Bryce Petty. Why not? Defense still wins championships
  9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Why? Everett Gholston returns. Why not? Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix, and Zack Martin drafted in first round
  10. UCLA Bruins: Why? Brett Hundley and Coach Mora. Why not? Barr first pick in 2014 NFL Draft
  11. Georgia Bulldogs: Why? Marshall, Gurley, and experienced o-line. Why not? Aaron Murray graduated and Todd Grantham is still the DC
  12. LSU Tigers: Why? OC Cam Cameron and DC John Chavis. Why not? Ego Ferguson, Anthony Johnson, Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham play for pay in 2014
  13. Michigan State Spartans: Why? Connor Cook and DC Pat Narduzzi. Why not? No fly zone loses Darqueze Denard whose drafted by the New York Jets.
  14. Florida Gators: Why? 4-8. Why not? 4-8.
  15. Arizona State Sun Devils: Why? Taylor Kelly and Coach Graham 10-4. Why not? Will Sutton and Coach Graham
  16. Kansas State Wildcats: Why? Coach Snyder, Jake Walters, and All American Tyler Lockett. Why not? Scheme do not replace size and speed
  17. USC Trojans: Why? Embarrassment of riches. Why not? Coach Sarkistan is no Pete Carroll
  18. South Carolina Gamecocks: Why? No Jadaveon Clowney. Why not? No Conor Shaw.
  19. Texas A&M Aggies: Why? Coach Sumlin. Why not? No Jake Matthews, Johnny Manziel or Mike Evans. Can’t win if you can score and stop the other team from scoring
  20. Wisconsin Badgers: Why? All-American RB Gordon returns. Why not? Lose top 4 wr to graduation.
  21. Clemson Tigers: Why? OC Chad Morris. Why not? DC Brett Venables
  22. Oklahoma State Cowboys: Why? I’m a man, I’m 40. Why not? Coach Gundy.
  23. Ole Miss Rebels: Why? Bo Wallace, and the band of freshman get bigger stronger, smarter, faster. Why not? LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M
  24. Washington Huskies: Why? Coach Peterson. Why not? Coach Peterson
  25. Missouri Tigers: Why? Matt Mauk, Doriall Green-Beckham, and edge rushers galore. Why not? May sack the quarterback but can not stop the run

2013 the year of the Cardinal

year of the cardinalThe Stanford victory over the boyishly frail mighty Ducks cemented 2013 as the year of the Cardinal. Although no national championships or final four banners were won an endless list of athletes from the Farm have sent shock waves to throughout the sports world altering perspectives, challenging bias and making many people uncomfortable along the way.

Seattle Seahawks All-Pro Richard Sherman, class of 2010, altered our view richard shermanon what many thought a Stanford graduate was supposed to look like and act. However, behind the dreadlocks, trash talk and brovado this football genius terrorized opponents and made life uneasy for opposing quarterbacks. Week in and week out he showed fans it was not only his mouth that brought him praise, but his superb play on the field.

As apart of the college football playoff inaugural committee Condoleezza Rice, class of 1981, will play a key role in giving fans what they have been begging decades for. Although her appointment ruffled a few feathers in the Plains her contribution along former Cardinal football coach Ty Willingham and others will play a key role in determining future national champions for decades to come.

Both Jason Collins and Jonathan Martin have caused franchises and their front offices to jason collins be trueacknowledge the pink elephant in the room – homosexuality and mental health. Although both of these men are colossal in size their situations reminded us that you can not judge a book by its cover. Martin and Collins may never play another down or grab another rebound but their contribution to the sports world will be immeasurable.

When we think about Stanford we think about academics but in 2013 the Cardinal truly stood alone. Who will be the next Cardinal from the Farm to show up and show out? There is certainly no shortage of candidates: stanford athleticsIndianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, is it you? Does Shayne Skov have another goal line strip in him? How about you Coach Johnny Dawkins? Or maybe 3-time All-American Chiney Ogwumike has a title run in her? The possibilities are endless, who will it be? Stay tuned…I know I will? – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Speed wins but not at the Farm, sorry Oregon run tell DAT

brian shaw stanford cardinalsFor eight weeks the Oregon Ducks have barely broke a sweat overwhelming opponents with speed and then forcing teams to take huge risks on offense leading to costly turnovers by the Ducks defense. Since most of their games had been decided by the half, Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota has spent the second half watching from the bench.

So far, victories for the Oregon Ducks have been easy to come by, but beating the Stanford Cardinals on Thursday night at the Farm will not be so easy. The Ducks have yet to play a team that will punch them in the mouth and make life uncomfortable forstanford defense vs mariota Mariota.

Although, the Stanford-way may never ever win a beauty contest, their formula of ball control, behemoth offensive linemen and a dominant defense has caused problems for the fastest team on turf and Thursday night may be no different.

The Ducks have a combined record of 36-4 over three years. The teams that have beat the Ducks had a dominant offensive and defensive line; well, Stanford has both. If the Cardinals control the line of scrimmage as they have in the past running back Tyler Gaffney will force nine in the box leaving the Ducks susceptible to the play action pass to Ty Montgomery, whose always one tackle away from taking it to the house.

On defense the Cardinals offset the Ducks speedsters by playing disciplined fundamental assignment football, it may not be pretty but it has proven to get the job done. Despite being undermanned the Cardinals defense led by All-American linebackers tyler gaffney stanford offensive lineShayne Skov and Trent Murphy are no slouches, they will certainly put Mariota’s Heisman contention and the Oregon Ducks championship hopes to the test. The Cardinals feasted on Beavers last week, is Duck next on the menu?

Ecclesiastes 9:11 says the race does not always go to the swift, we will soon see if that scripture was right. Stay tuned…I know I will – A. Denmark

 

 

No offense, but defense will be the reason Oregon beats Stanford

oregon ducks offenseEach week in the world of college football there are big games played that have national title implications and this week is no different. At the start of the season several teams were believed to have a legitimate shot at winning the title, but each week teams showed us who they were and now its the Oregon Ducks led by Heisman frontrunner Marcus Mariota turn to show us when they go to the farm to take rival the Stanford Cardinals.

Despite losing Chip Kelly to the NFL the Ducks offensive juggernaut has not slowed down one bit. Even after De’Anthony Thomas missed three games due to an ankle oregon ducks replacementssprain the offense rarely missed a beat due to running back Byron Marshall and wide receiver Bralon Addison stepping up and showing out.

However, let’s be honest we have seen this all before, the offensive firepower and stats are impressive and the highlight plays are unforgettable but until they beat their Pac 12 nemesis a BCS championship will always be out of reach.

This Oregon team enters Thursday’s game healthy which was not the case last season, both of their lines resembled the walking wounded. Marcus Mariota has made tremendous strides in his game, he is now using his athleticism to extend plays which will make life difficult for Cardinal defenders

Although their offense will continue to hog the headlines Oregon will beat the Cardinals in the trenches, the place where championship are truly won or lost. The Ducks oregon ducks d lineoffensive line although inexperienced will be facing a wounded Cardinal defensive line that is scary but very thin due to injuries which will reduce the impacts of All American linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy.

The Oregon defensive line is no slouch either, and with the nation watching this will be their coming out party.  Their line is deep and talented; it averages 6’5″ 300 pounds, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner are the headliners and at the end of Thursday night they both national commodities. The secondary led be All-American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is stout and but the linebacker corp although talented will likely give up  a few shots.

oregon ducks we want bamaEvery year fans are lead to believe that this year will be different, that this will finally be the year that the Oregon Ducks get a shot to dethrone and take down the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide. But before Ducks fans talk Bama they must win the day, beat Stanford and handle things at the farm. Will they? Stay tuned…I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Pre-season College Football Top 25 spring edition: (1-5)

Road to the BCS Championship

Road to the BCS Championship

Although the euphoria of March Madness has consumed the time of the common man my true college football fans have already began the countdown to kickoff for their favorite teams. I have frequently given pre-season polls a hard time because it fails to account for injuries and the eligibility of college football’s biggest stars who either ruin a team’s chances due to their selfishness and poor attitude.

For true college football fans pre-season polls provide us with an opportunity to speculate on the endless possibilities that await our favorite teams as we grow one step closer to 17 weeks of excitement, mayhem, and upsets. And without further adieu here is my Pre-season College Football Top 25 spring edition: (1-5)

  1. Alabama wins BCS National ChampionshipAlabama Crimson Tide (13-1): The Tide must replace three key members of their offensive line and former five-star recruits will have to step up to account for losses in the secondary. The Tide return Heisman candidate quarterback and sophomore running back  TJ Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper who will likely contend for All-American honors.
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0): Now eligible for postseason play the Buckeyes welcome back quarterback Braxton Miller who is a favorite to contend for the Heisman. Coach Urban Meyer has recruited sec-like speed into a defense that is high on talent but low on experience. Due to a week non-conference schedule and with the Big Ten experiencing a down year an unblemished regular season appears likely and is expected.
  3. Stanford Cardinals (12-2): The Cardinals have found their next star Stanford wins Rose Bowlquarterback in Kevin Hogans whose athleticism and in-game moxie conjured up memories of Andrew Luck. Cardinals will continue to rely heavily on their run game which has its fare share of bull-dozers. All-American linebacker Shayne Skov appears to be fully recovered from his torn ACL a year ago and will lead a dominant defense that led the nation in sacks last year.
  4. Texas A&M Aggies (12-2): The Aggies return reigning Heisman winnerTexas AM wins Cotton Bowl Johnny Manziel and a bevy of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Although the Aggies will have little trouble scoring points the defense must fill a lot of key position.
  5. Oregon Ducks (12-1): Although the Ducks lost head coach Chip Kelly to the NFL the Ducks explosive offense should not miss a beat lead by quarterback Marcus Mariota who ranked top ten in the Oregon Ducks Quack Attackcountry in passing efficiency. The Ducks lose a lot of talent and senior leadership on a defense that lacks experience. Their offense will score enough points to allow the defense time to mature in time for November 7th match-up at the Farm against the Stanford Cardinals.

(6-10 on Thursday)

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST