January 30, 2007

Senior Bowl Review by Fantasy College Blitz

Finally we have dried out from the trip to Mobile, Alabama this weekend and the FCB crew has finished up their water-logged reviews of the offensive skill positions (Jason Hill TD catch below).

It took me a while to type mine since both Drew and Daniel forcefully restrained me when I wantted to ask Colorado kicking sensation Mason Crosby
"No one questions your accuracy, but many are worried about your leg strength in the pro game - how do you respond to your detractors?"
Who knew sarcasm could hurt so much?

No more adieu...here are the links and excerpts at Fantasy College Blitz.
  • Poor Chris Leak. After finally silencing critics with his tour-de-force in the National Championship Game, he got stuck behind an underwhelming South offensive line in the Senior Bowl....Quarterbacks by Daniel Freer
  • For Lorenzo Booker, I can see a career similar to Kevin Faulk of the Patriots...Running Backs by Drew Smith
  • I find it hard to believe Aundrae Allison will not be a productive #2 and/or punt returner on the big stage....Wide Receivers by Vince Mullins
Stay tuned throughout the spring as we continue to break down the NFL Draft offensive skill positions.

January 28, 2007

Impending doom for fantasy sports

While longtime readers should know I am deeply involved in fantasy college football, there are new risks emerging from the licensing arms of all the professional sports leagues which could deeply impact your enjoyment of fantasy sports.

Fantasy Sports Magazine: January 2007. Greg Ambrosius has penned a number of articles on this subject for the industry, appropriate as he is one of the most visible in the formation of the fantasy sports industry.

Below are a set of links I grabbed after Googling for the Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) legal fight to protect the statistics and likenesses of its league's players. It started long ago but has sprung up this week after MLBAM filed an appeal to keep their fight alive.

Baseball Prospectus: February 2005
CNN Money: August 2006
Chronicle Herald: January 2007

January 27, 2007

Fantasy College Blitz at the Senior Bowl

Our road trip to Mobile no doubt mimicked the journey many of these elite college football players' careers have taken to the 2007 Senior Bowl.

The exciting highs and the gut wrenching lows at the penultimate level of competition culminate at this all-star event...Not really-the trip in my Urban Assault Vehicle paled in comparison. There is a whole lotta nothin' between Tallahassee and Mobile on I-10 so you better sync up the iPod before this trip.

Weather conditions look poor for quality foootball-light rain should make ball handling difficult. Of course, right after I type that the North goes 34 yards on a double reverse to the North's Jason Hill.

Stories will follow here and at Fantasy College Blitz - Daniel will review QB and K, Drew grabs the RB, and I will break down the WR and TE

January 24, 2007

To the Senior Bowl

I say that before I leave since I do not know the state of broadband access in Mobile, Alabama...

I and the Fantasy College Blitz crew begin our trek early Friday to the finest college football all-star game in existence, the Senior Bowl at Ladd Peebles Stadium, televised on the NFL Network at 3 pm on Saturday January 27.

Media Relations czar Vic Knight was kind enough to recognize the journalistic merit of our work and issued us press passes for the game. The following is a list of the players I can't wait to interview.

Utah's Eric Weddle, who played just about every position including the now trendy again single wing .

Colorado's kicker Mason Crosby, who I believe is already one of the top ten kickers ever (just to note, I said the same thing about Steve McNair as a QB before the draft. And also basketball D-list star Shawn Bradley. My record is mixed at best).

Oregon State TE Joe Newton, a 6-8 physical specimen who came back strongly from a broken leg and who should be an immediate impact in the NFL.

Rutgers RB Brian Leonard, who may be tired of the Mike Alstott comparisons but aside from Brandon Jacobs there are not a lot of 250-pound guys who can shake it and bake it while running strong too. Of course you know he has upside (slo-mo begins at 2:03)...

Catch you from Mobile.

January 22, 2007

WBRS Sports Blog: Rutgers Football Success at what cost?

WBRS Sports Blog: Remaining Competitive in College Football Isn't Easy for Everyone

Nice Breakdown from Mini-Me (is he Diet Evil?) on the omnipresent tugs-of-war between the stated goals of a university and the public relations power of a successful football program.

I maintain that Rutgers football could still be self-sufficient even with the raises, so the layoffs in academia and support would have happened regardless.

January 17, 2007

Colt Brennan will run and shoot at Hawai'i in 2007

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that Colt Brennan will return to Hawaii for his senior year as he continues to assault the NCAA record book.The relevant quotes:

Brennan was advised by the NFL that he is a likely second round pick in the April 28-29 draft in New York. He is generally rated the third best quarterback available in the draft, behind JaMarcus Russell of Louisiana State and Brady Quinn of Notre Dame.

His accuracy as a passer is unquestioned, but at 6-feet-3 and 200 pounds, Brennan is not as big as some of the other top pro quarterback prospects. But many other smaller quarterbacks, such as Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Marc Bulger of the St. Louis Rams, enjoy success in the NFL...

Dozens of teammates stood outside of the Stan Sheriff Center minutes before Brennan's news conference today. Slotback Mike Washington held a homemade sign that said "1 more year ... or" on one side and "we fly for Ty" on the other, referring to Tyler Graunke, who is next in line to quarterback the Warriors.

Those who possess the first pick in next year's fantasy drafts exhaled a sigh of relief with this news, especially Benny in our league.

Early prediction - with the return of FOUR possible NFL wide receivers (Bess, Grice-Mullin, Rivers, Sample), gotta expect 5000 yards again and 50 TDs - did I mention serious Heisman consideration? My position has always been he is much more talented that the robot Timmy Chang.

Stay classy, Colt.

Sooey, what a calamity in Fayetteville

Rumors and Rants breaks down the insanity at the University of Arkansas over the past couple months - latest news is super recruit QB Mitch Mustain is high tailing it out of town, likely to Tulsa but possibly to Oklahoma. Well did, Sports Yenta.

This story reminds me of my buddy KC's rant after the parents' meeting with AD Frank Broyles after the SEC Championship Game. You will have to trust me on the content of his verbal rant, as his blog is as empty and vapid as Paris Hilton...

"WTF is this? The parents are visiting the AD? If this were any other school, the AD would listen politely, tell them to gather their Capri Suns and orange slices and say thanks them for coming! Arkansas goes to the Championship of the toughest conference in the game, and little Damian is crying in his shin guards that he didn't get 10 catches a game? YOU FREAKING BEAT AUBURN! YOU FREAKING HAVE DARREN MCFADDEN TO RUN THE BALL! Hit the weights, block down on the LB and be a good soldier, freshman!"

So, in summation, this post was to vent on the Arkansas program and to yearn for the day when KC will step up on his golf blog. I never asked him what he dislikes so much about kids' soccer, I fear I could get a punch in the neck.

January 13, 2007

Drat! The off-season begins

My posting will definitely slow down over the next few months - I do not get to hyped about recruiting (fool's errand to project a 17 year old's maturation - see Rambo, Ken-Yon) plus there are others who do it full time like the excellent Rivals.com.

I am working on an article that breaks down the Charlie Weis mystique, but when sharing notes with colleagues they all say I come off like a hater - not at all my intention as I just don't see the results under Weis that were any different than under Ty Willingham, except for actually scoring points.

Here are some projects I am working on over the next couple months for you:

Senior Bowl - All the FCB crew will be in Mobile the last weekend of January, gathering interviews and soaking up some football in the winter. Just saw that the 2006 National Champion Florida Gators will be represented by quarterback Chris Leak, wide receiver Dallas Baker, linebacker Earl Everett and defensive lineman Ray McDonald in 2007 contest.

NFL Draft - a natural extension of this site to project how some stars will do at the next level. I will be mirroring those posts to Blog Critic and also Yardbarker, a couple of interesting webb communities

Fantasy College Blitz - We have some management changes to deal with as we continue to build out the best fantasy college football website in existence. Next year will have more of a DIY - blog feel to it since we had so much enjoyment with the interactivity of the Forum in 2006.

We are also evaluating whether to continue a subscription model or an ad-supported model of business as we go into Year Three. I have to say the story of ArmChairGM.com fetching a $2 million price inspired us to review our subscription model, so Drew, Daniel and I are getting ready for our "winter meeting" in Mobile.

That is it for now - stay in touch!

January 09, 2007

Carnivores crush confections - Gators take the title 41-14

Gators shocked the world last night in a 41-14 palindromic spanking/shellacking/ass-kicking/pummeling/anihilating defeat of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Buckeyes only earned 87 yards from scrimmage against a fierce and fast (and sometimes helmetless) defense.

Because of that defense, the Gator efficient and creative offense had a short field to use most of the evening, only enhancing the shifting/metamorphisizing Chris Leak-led side's ability to create points.

My best takeway to share with my readers - stop the Urban Meyer hating. He turned around Bowling Green, got Utah a BCS game victory, and now has achieved a national championship in his second year at Florida. He deserves the compensation and the upper-echelon respect.

Granted the roster spills over with Ron Zook's recruits, but that doesn't diminish the accomplishment. That would be like crediting the migrant worker for farming the clay when the artist formed the pottery. Wow, I must really be hung over to pull that allegory out of my arse.

I will wrap it up with some clips of assorted things I overheard or read while viewing the game.

"Well, shit!" - Neil at the initial kick return of Ted Ginn to give the
Buckeyes the 7-0 lead.

"For chrissakes, Tebow runs right! Do your
homework!" - Jerry

"That Heisman is coming in handy..." - John

"There are ten OSU fans for every Gator fan here. I am loving
this!" - Jeff texting me from the top row of University of Phoenix

"Rex Grossman just said, 'Man, those stats suck!'" - Drew
reacting to Troy Smith's 4-11 for 80 yards graphic in the second half.

"No" - Drew's response at halftime when I asked if I could still get the
6.5 points he was offering to Gators before the game.

"Troy Smith may be the third best QB tonight..." - Brent Musberger on ESPN
Radio. What a ridiculous statement, BTW.

Posting activity will go way down until after spring ball, but stay tuned for some NFL Draft coverage over the next couple months - just got my press passes for the Senior Bowl!

January 08, 2007

The last 50 days...

Ohio State takes the field tonight for the BCS Championship Game, and hasn't played since the Michigan victory, a span of 50 days between live action.

I was thinking hard about what I haven't done in the last 50 days either, and the list is a disturbing window into what my life has become.

Worked out with weights.
Got enough sleep (damn blogging)
Called old friends.
Laundry (it has been a crazy holiday season - thanks goodness a suit can get multiple uses)
Gone to a happy hour.

Share your greatest misses of the last 50 days below...

January 07, 2007

Petrino to the NFL Falcons...

IOW, I told ya so a few months back that the ten-year deal the Coach Bobby Petrino signed with Louisville would not be worth the paper it was printed on.

USA Today chronicles an emotional goodbye
from the coach to his Cardinal players who say they didn't see it coming.

In my book, Petrino is two to three steps down the evolutionary ladder from Nick Saban. Just a month ago Petrino said he would not entertain questions about other jobs.

Rat bastard...

January 05, 2007

Bowls on my forehead: BCS National Championship breakdown

With the pinnacle of our college football journey plainly in sight, it is time for a full statistical, fundamental, and humorous analysis of the BCS National Championship Game slated for Monday at 8pm on Fox.

Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) vs.
Florida Gators (12-1)
University of Phoenix Stadium
(not Pink Taco Stadium), Glendale AZ.


Ohio State favored by 7.5, and the number is set at 48.5 - that extra half point could come into play very easily if this game is as close and low scoring as expected when two of the nation's best defenses meet in the arid desert.

Gotta give an edge on the expectation scale to Ohio State with their 9-3 against the spread (ATS) record this year whereas the Gators played many games much tighter than the smart money thought, only finishing 4-8 ATS. While the Gators come through in the clutch (5-0 in games decided by less than 7 this year), there are few teams in the naton with that poor of a cover record. No like opponents.


Looking at my favorite efficiency stats illustrate just how hard each team has to work to score, as well as how hard they make the opponent work.
  • "yards per play" (yppl)
  • "yards per point" (yppt)
  • turnover margin
  • 3rd down conversions
Let us start with defense: both teams are Top Ten in points allowed, but a look under the hood shows that this game result stands on the Gators' ability to move the ball. The Gator offense is only average with 13.8 yards per point, placing 52nd in the nation - the Buckeyes led the nation making opponents churn out 26.3 yppt over their twelve games (15.5 is the median, so OSU is almost 170% more stingy than average).

The other number strongly in the Ohio favor is turnover margin - both teams forced 27 turnovers, but the Gators gave it up 24 times and the Buckeyes only 16.
On third down, the standout number is the Buckeyes 51% conversion rate on offense (NCAA #4) versus Gators 33.9% allowed (NCAA #35).

The rest of the comps are pretty tight, but an overwhelming edge to the Buckeyes here. Of course this only highlights potential results - these same numbers suggested that Rice had a big edge over Troy earlier in the bowl season, but when the Owls back up QB couldn't make anything happen Troy kicked their behinds.


When Ohio State has the ball, the Gators should be able to stand up to the Big Ten maulers. I would expect underrated RB Antonio Pittman to still get his 100yds and a touch, but the Gators have the most athletic front four the Buckeyes have looked at all year (even with the dismassal of Marcus Thomas), including Michigan.

The real issue for the Gators again will be when they have the ball. A talented O-line has battled depth issues all year, but the Buckeyes young front four has performed extremely well this year. Any injury or nick to the Gators offensive line will spell trouble for the safety of QB Chris Leak.


An alligator is a ferocious reptile that thrives in the heat of the peninsula. Gators attack pets and humans with equal disdain when they get too close to lakes and swamps, killing 11 people this decade.

The buckeye is the state tree of Ohio, but is well known for its poisonous nut. Many around the country are familiar with the dessert treat consisting of rolled peanut butter diiped in chocolate that results in a striking resemblance to the nut.

Advantage carnivore over the confection.

COOL STATS (thanks, Phil Steele)

Ohio State scored 45 more touchdowns than their opponents.
Ohio State has lost the last six vs. SEC (last win LSU in 1988).
Florida most penalized team in the SEC (65ypg).
Florida plays more freshman than any top ten team
Florida's Urban Meyer in 3-0 ATS and SU in bowl games.


The battle of the nations top playmakers - Percy Harvin and Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn is the one with all the press and expectations, but don't be surprised to see Harvin line up in four different positions to make big plays for the Gators.

How the Buckeyes react to the two-headed QB system of the Gators. They have seen similar things from Bowling Green, Indiana and Illinois this year, but nothing like the "Leak by air, Tebow by ground" show from Gainesville.

Great links from around the web... (I will add as deserved)

SI: SEC Speed superiority?
USA Today: Gators score without points

    January 04, 2007

    We knew Calvin Johnson was the 2h!t, but..

    did you know his current project of interest in designing dry latrines for the people of Bolivia?

    Daniel Freer of FCB (you know, that big link to the right?) and I were talking after New Year's about the quick story during the bowl game that he was designing a new type of toilet bowl for underdeveloped areas of the world. “I want to help the less fortunate,” Johnson said.

    Of course, Daniel found a link from Georgia Tech and here are all the details.

    Like the title implies, we knew that CJ possesses special athletic qualities, and now we know by his choice of engineering project that he is special inside as well.

    (UPDATE: CJ is going pro - methinks he is a top five pick)

    January 02, 2007

    Boise tricks out the bandwagon, beats Oklahoma

    I am not sure I can add anything to the amazing Fiesta Bowl last night, a 43-42 Boise State victory over Oklahoma .

    If you went to bed after Oklahoma ran back the interception to take the lead right around midnight (Cinderella reference, anyone?), shame on you. It speaks to your faith, man... all of Idaho is weeping today.

    Below is a YouTube clip that neatly summarizes the last three minutes of regulation and the OT - I swore I was watching a treatment for a film script unfold, and then to add to the surreality of the Boise win, RB Ian Johnson proposes to the lead cheerleader afterwards!

    BTW, I do not think this means we need a playoff to let teams like Boise get their shot at a title. 13-0 is a great achievement and my love for the Boise program is clear, but they would be an 8-4 team at best in the Big Ten. And that takes nothing away from their amazing story this year!

    My lovely wife pointed out a great body double/doppleganger during the game...Boise coach Chris Peterson and Billy Bob Thornton...spooky!