Nick Saban Urban Meyer V! It is inevitable

saban-v-meyer-vThe 2016 college football season is only in its infancy, but it already appears that Saban Meyer V in Tampa is all but inevitable. Although parody is supposedly alive and well, thus far we have learned that Ohio State and Alabama are the two exceptions. The gap between these two elite programs and whoever is ranked below them is outstanding, and will only grow wider as the Tide and Buckeyes continue to improve.

The Lamar Jackson phenomena has certainly been entertaining, but thus far there have lamar-heismanbeen few surprises this season. Although the fortunes of teams often change from week to week, due to injuries or a lack of depth several teams will be the victims of misfortune. Unlike the Buckeyes and Tide, the fortunes of most teams rely too heavily on the play of one player.

No one will question the dynamic playmaking ability of Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson but they alone will not be enough to jabrill-peppersbridge the Buckeyes-Tide gap. The Stanford Cardinals are all out of byes and McCaffrey is already averaging 35 touches per game. LB/OW/PK/KR Peppers has amazed on offense, defense, and special teams but maintaining such a heavy workload for 13 week is a lot to ask of anybody. September Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson may be 2nd in the nation in rushing, but each time he flees the pocket the Cardinals faithful all hold their breath hoping Jackson jumps back up.

Thus far we have been wowed by the dynamic play of those great players and others but the truth may be hard to accept but it is nearly impossible to deny. at this rate two spots saban-meyer5for the college football playoffs is all but set, everyone else is simply playing for third and fourth. Like Cavaliers v. Warriors, the regular season appears to be meaningless because Meyers Saban V is inevitable. The only question that remains is who will be in the home and away jersey.  It took Neo from the Matrix two movies to realize that it was inevitable, how many games will it take you to realize the same? 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

#Countdown2Kickoff #MSU #Spartans Down but not out

msu winsDespite winning its 3rd Big Ten title in 5 years, the Michigan State Spartans will not be remembered for its 5th 10+ win season but instead will be remembered for the goose egg it laid against the Alabama Crimson Tide, the eventual National Champion.  In one night the Spartans went from being on cusp of a national championship to now being dismissed all together. But Spartans HC Mark Dantonio would not have it any other way, the seismic chip on the Spartans shoulder has returned.

Although replacing the Spartans All-Americans trio of QB Connor Cook, LT Jack Conklin, lj scott vs iowaand WR Aaron Burbridge will be no easy task, there are talented unproven players anxiously waiting for their chance. The experience that fifth year senior QB Tyler O’Connor gained in beating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Horseshoe last year was invaluable and it all but solidified his spot at the top of the depth chart. Although Conklin will certainly be missed, the depth of the o-line should have no problem opening up running lanes for LJ Scott, who may be the best running back in the Big Ten.

josiah price msuThe Spartans receivers may be inexperienced, but their talent is undeniable. Each year RJ Shelton’s production has increased and if talented redshirt freshman Darrell Stewart and early enrollee Donnie Corley are as impressive in games as they have been during practice the Spartans will be fine. Blessed with the strength to block, the speed to separate, and the size to win 50/50 balls TE Josiah Price is poised for a breakout season.

Since the Spartans secondary was decimated by injuries, it was no surprise that the defense was uncharacteristically average. But the secondary should improve with the return of Vayante Copeland from injury and with the continued development of Demetrious Cox and Montae Nicholson at safety the no fly zone may be back. Although msu dthere will be three new starters on the d-line, Malik McDowell may be the best defensive tackle in the nation.There may not be a better linebacker duo in the country than Riley Bullough and Ed Davis, they each possess both the speed to run sideline to sideline as well as the toughness to make guys think twice about hitting the whole and running across the middle.

malik mcdowellBesides one game, the Spartans had a season for the ages, and they may just do it again. The fellas in East Lansing have made a habit of proving folks wrong, why should 2016 be any different?  Although the Spartans may have been down after their last game, but with HC Dantonio at the helm, the Spartans are far from out. Doubt them if you dare. 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

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

 

 

 

Alabama gets exposed in win, blueprint to beat Tide revealed

johnny manziel and nick sabanThe game called the rematch, Texas A&M vs. Alabama exceeded expectations, and it appears that a new rivalry has been born. Although Coach Nick Saban survived the Manziel Magic his reputation as a defense stalwart took a huge hit surrendering over 628 yards of total offense.

Despite having an embarrassment of riches and a bevy of five star recruits, the defensemike evans and cyrus jones looked average. Do not get me wrong, the defense was disciplined and schematically sound, but the Tide have NO play-makers on the defensive side of the ball. No reliable edge rusher to terrorize opposing quarterbacks; No shutdown corner to keep offensive coordinators up at night; and no space eater that stops the run.

In a winning effort the defense got exposed as imposters living off of the glory and reputations of past teams who dominated on the defensive side of the ball. Although Saban is relieved that he survived, he and everyone in Roll Tide Nation should be very nervous. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart must do something to address his secondary and lack of a consistent pass rush, because SEC teams like les miles and mark richtLSU, Ole Miss, and Georgia are licking their chops biting at the bit to take down the reigning BCS Champions.

nick saban yellingAgainst the Aggies, Coach Saban looked completely helpless, with no clue how to stop or thwart one Manziel heisman moment after another. Historically, Saban has struggled with containing mobile quarterbacks and spread offenses in days past and all of the teams who are considered serious threats to the Crimson Tide dynasty all have mobile quarterbacks, run elements of the spread offense, and possess play-makers who stretch the field and that frequently make mince meat of man-to-man coverage.

Although it is ludicrous to write the Crimson Tide as a title contender, their shootout bcs title contendersthis past Saturday revealed a chink in the armor that could give opposing teams a fighting chance in defeating the reigning BCS Champions. After giving up 628 yards of total offense, what will the Crimson Tide defense do for an encore? Their challengers are waiting. Stay tuned… I know I will #rolltide

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

Countdown to College Football

college football mapCollege football fans have grown restless and antsy waiting anxiously to tailgate, paint their faces, and prepared to spend their Saturday’s rooting for their favorite team and praying their team does not become the latest victim of the upset bug which makes college football so exciting.

In other sports Goliath always wins but in college football David always has a fighting a chance. Each season new stars take the stage, we have witnessed the Honey rg3 and johnny manzielBadger, RGIII and his Superman socks, and last year this guy named Johnny Manziel took the stage. Which unknown player is poised for stardom? What program will under achieve? Which program will surprise us all?

There are 119 Division I football teams and they all are tied 0-0. the time for them to separate themselves is almost here. USA Today and the Associate Press have released their preseason polls but in all honesty there nothing more than glorified guesses that either excite or infuriate fan bases who are experiencing football withdrawal. There are three constants with preseason rankings that never change: (1) 3 teams from the top five will finish the season unranked;(2) the Preseason Heisman favorite will not win; and (3) Michigan, Florida, and Florida State will not live up to their loft ranking.

The Southeastern Conference has dominated the BCS era winning 8 National Championships, will their dominance continue or has the reign finally come to an end? Teams like the Oregon Ducks, Stanford Cardinals, and the Ohio State Buckeyes all urban meyer ohio state buckeyesbelieve they have the horses to dethrone reigning BCS Champion, the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Will the Ducks make a seamless transition to Coach Mark Helfrich? Will the Buckeyes duplicate an undefeated season despite their loses along the defensive line? Will the Cardinals be able to weather a tough conference slate despite not having any proven play-makers on offense that stretch the field?

Fan bases all over the country are anxiously awaiting the answers to these questions and more. The madness, excitement, and euphoria is almost here. 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

 

Road2BCS: Week 8 was nothing short of exciting, thank you college football gods #bcscountdown

Wow what a Saturday, from overtime thrillers to unexpected blowouts college football certainly was far from a snoozer. We have reached the midpoint of the college football season and the second BCS rankings will be out pretty soon, and so far the unexpected has become the norm for six straight weeks. In only a short time both preseason title favorites LSU and USC have suffered early season losses and the prohibitive Heisman favorites Geno Smith and Matt Barkley are now on the outside looking in just hoping for invites to the ceremony in New York’s Big Apple.

At the start of the season so many teams had high hopes of breaking through but the harsh reality of a college football season has left its fair share of bruises and casualties. Despite two early season losses that football team in State College continues to surprise the masses after yet another convincing win over the Iowa Hawkeyes.

For yet another season it appears that the SEC is conducting its own version of a playoff elimination format which will determine who plays for the BCS National Championship. Not even the gator faithful would have predicted that Coach Muschamp would have his team ranked as the second best team in the country. However, after another convincing win over top ten foe South Carolina Gamecocks the Gators have survived the toughest part of their schedule. Led by Matt Elam on defense and with Jeff Driskel continued improvement a showdown between crosstown rival FSU stand in the way of Will Muschamp facing his mentor Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide for an opportunity to play for the BCS National Championship.

Not to be outdone, the Oregon Ducks out west have steam rolled the competition averaging nearly 40 points per game and resting most of its starters by halftime. Led by an explosive offense it appears that not even Matt Barkley and his USC Trojans will pose much of a threat to the Ducks as they appear destined to face an SEC foe in Miami for the BCS National Championship.

Although there are a number of other BCS title contenders it will be interesting to see how squads like the undefeated Kansas Stat Wildcats and the Oregon State Beavers respond with increased pressure to perform and produce on a consistent basis. Each of these teams face trap games and if they are not careful they may find themselves victims of their own success. The Washington Huskies and the Texas Tech Red Raiders have already upset two top ten teams already this season, if they are not careful each of these national championship long shots may be next.

As one Saturday ends college football fans will certainly have more weeks of upsets and overtime thrillers in store. Only at season’s end will we truly know who the best team in the country is, until then all we can continue to do is just guess and enjoy. To my true college football fans, stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Road2BCS: Week 4 Reality Check – The Three Favorites and then everybody else #cfb

At the beginning of the season there were 120 undefeated teams who dreamed of playing the role of spoiler and taking down the mighty Goliath’s of college football. Several promising underclassmen turned down millions of dollars in the NFL choosing instead to play another year to improve their draft stock, contend for a BCS title and earn the diploma that they promised their friends and loved ones that they would get.

Although the season is far from over in only a short time several teams have been given a harsh reality check  that a National Championship will not be in their future and many talented underclassmen who passed on the NFL Draft last year  may certainly be regretting their decision at this time.

In week four of the college football season we were treated to a number of surprises that will certainly make for a compelling 2012-13 season. The race for the National Title is completely wide open with Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State looking like prohibitive favorites. In addition to adding a win to the win column these teams also avoided the injury bug that has already compromised the chances of other title contenders. The Road to the BCS title is a marathon not a sprint and how these three teams perform will shape the National title picture.

The Alabama Crimson Tide appear to have the toughest road ahead with tough games remaining against the defensively stout LSU Tigers, pass happy Tennessee Volunteers, and hated in-state rival the Auburn Tigers. Led by the arm of AJ Mccarrons and an ever improving defense each week the Tide will be expected to win, even on November 3rd against LSU.

Although the SEC is praised as the deepest conference, this year that title may belong to the Pac 12. Outside of Colorado who upset Washington State, the conference is riddled with land mines that can destroy the Oregon Ducks title chances. The Ducks have seven games left on their schedule and 6 of those seven will be ranked in the top 25 by season’s end. Outside of their obvious match-up against USC on November 3rd there will be many in conference foes who will have the offensive firepower to score and the ability to confuse their first year starting quarterback.

Many will foolishly assume that the Seminoles have the easiest route to the BCS title game but in reality there road may actually be the toughest because they will be expected to win every game. The Seminoles will not face another ranked in conference opponent for the rest of the season besides Virginia Tech. Coach Fisher must get his team to not overlook any opponent and follow the process as his mentor Coach Saban taught him. When the Seminoles play against their instate rival the Florida Gators more than state pride will be on the line.

How each of these teams respond to heightened expectation will say a lot about the talent and leadership on their teams, and the quality of coaching on the sidelines and in the sky box. Will they stay strong or will one of these teams falter? Who will outwit and outlast the other? College football fans it appears that another exciting season awaits us. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)

Road to the BCS Title: There can only be 1! Teams may appear better than they seem #bcstitle

We are only going into the fourth week of the season and several  sports pundits have prematurely deemed several traditional powers to be back among the nation’s elite after witnessing them demolish FCS pansies and outclassing undermanned programs. In the words of the Lee Corso from College Gameday I must say “not so fast!”

A few weeks ago Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban went on a tirade lecturing the national media on prematurely ordaining his team as a shoe-in to contend for the national title. Although his delivery rubbed many media member the wrong way his message was SEARS CRYSTAL TROPHY CLEAR, its far to early in a long 15 week season to foolishly overlook opponents and make grand predictions because in college football any team on any day can lose.

The road to a BCS Championship is long and arduous and despite many teams possessing the talent only two teams out of a field of 120 will get the opportunity to play for the crown of being the nation’s best. So far this season we have bared witness to dominant performances by Alabama and LSU but several other teams in the top 15 raise more questions than answers regarding their true legitimacy as contenders for the national title.

Future Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Parcells once famously said “YOU ARE WHAT YOUR RECORD SAYS YOU ARE” but despite several teams being 3-0 we still have no clue who they are:

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) — Two very impressive wins over teams ranked in the top 10. The O-line gave up 6 sacks to WKU and suffered a costly injury when RB Fowler who was lost for the season. O-line issues must be addressed before their match-up with LSU Nov. 3rd
  2. LSU Tigers (3-0) — LSU regular season record remains unblemished with dominating performances over powerhouses Idaho, North Texas, and Washington. These wins have come at a huge cost losing 6 players due to academics and 3 to injuries including starting LT Faulk,  LB Tahj Jones, and RB Alfred Blue. The depth of the Tigers will be tested, the talent is there will inexperience be too costly
  3. Oregon Ducks (3-0) — like the Tigers the Oregon Ducks have survived a “tough” gauntlet of unranked opponents in TN Tech, Ark State, and Fresno State and have looked impressive in their wins over these ‘tough’ foes. The Ducks have barely broke a sweat in their wins but suffered two huge losses in G Carson York and All-American safety John Boyett. With a tough conference schedule awaiting the decision making of QB Mariota and a inexperienced O-line and secondary will be tested.
  4. Florida State Seminoles (3-0) — not one to avoid tough opponents the Seminoles paid Murray State and Savannah State for wins and put a shellacking on perennial powerhouse Wake Forest. These wins were costly losing All-Americans DE Jenkins to injury and Greg Reid to suspension.
  5. Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) — the Bull Dogs survived a scare from the Missouri Tigers despite 6 players being lost due to suspension. Will the Dogs be able to just say NO TO DRUGS??
  6. Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) — So you get nearly outclassed by UTEP and still find yourself in the top 10. Coach Stoops did not get the Nickname “Big Game Bob” for nothing…
  7. South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0) — A pass interference no call from Vandy warrants being ranked in top ten
  8. West Virginia Mountaineers (2-0) — James Madison + Marshall = Heisman Frontrunner?
  9. Stanford Cardinals (3-0) — yes they beat SC but nearly loss to San Jose State only winning by 3
  10. Clemson Tigers (3-0) – 26-19 to Auburn who almost lost to Louisiana Monroe, enough said

As the quest for the Sears National Championship Trophy continues as the season progresses the rankings will certainly change and I am more than certain that a few of these teams currently ranked in the top 10 may not even finish the season in the top 25. Who will be those teams? Who will hoist the trophy at season’s end. Stay tuned… I know i will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)