2014-09-19

Brick's Picks #4

It's Thursday, and you know what that means?

Another week's issue of Brick's Picks!

This week, we've got some big contests between power five opponents to look forward to!

Last week, we saw multiple upsets that were quite impressive.

I'll go into further detail on Week 3 at a later time, for now, let's get picking!

Georgia Tech - Virginia Tech EVEN
Iowa - Pitt
Maryland - Syracuse EVEN
Tulane - Duke ACC Blowout of the week
Maine - Boston College
Louisville - Florida International
Virginia - #21 BYU EVEN
Army - Wake Forest
North Carolina - East Carolina
Presbyterian - NC State
Miami (FL) - #24 Nebraska
#22 Clemson - #1 Florida State Winston is suspended for the first half... Clemson's already got their massive choke job out of the way... I smell shenanigans
#5 Auburn - #20 Kansas State
Central Michigan - Kansas
#4 Oklahoma - West Virginia EVEN
East Michigan - #11 Michigan State
Western Illinois - Northwestern EVEN (Crazy upset alert of the week
South Illinois - Purdue
Bowling Green - #19 Wisconsin
Massachusetts - Penn State (B1G blowout of the week
San Jose State - Minnesota
Texas State - Illinois
Indiana - #18 Missouri
Utah - Michigan
Rutgers - Navy
#2 Oregon - Washington State
Hawaii - Colorado
Georgia State - Washington (Pac-12 blowout of the week)
California - Arizona
San Diego State - Oregon State
Troy - Georgia
#6 Texas A&M - SMU (SEC blowout of the week)
Florida - Alabama EVEN
Northern Illinois - Arkansas
Mississippi State - Louisiana State EVEN
#14 South Carolina - Vanderbilt

My picks were done as of 2000 GMT!

And I'll be sure to add some more thoughts later.

2014-09-12

Brick's Picks #3

Hello everyone, and welcome to the next edition of Brick's Picks!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for failing to post my picks for last week, as I was on a military installation competing in an overnight athletic competition. I will make sure I do not miss another week.

Now, moving on to the week two recap, I feel like now would be a good time to start counting up all the FBS unbeaten teams. This is mostly for posterity, as I try to keep my rankings separate from the AP poll to the best of my ability.

After week two, the unbeaten teams in FBS are:

Louisville
Syracuse (1-0)
North Carolina State
Florida State
Pittsburgh
Georgia Tech
Duke
North Carolina
Virginia Tech
Kansas State
Oklahoma
Texas Christian University (1-0)
Baylor
Texas Tech
Kansas (1-0)
Rutgers
Penn State
Indiana (1-0)
Maryland
Nebraska
Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
BYU
Army (1-0)
Notre Dame
Marshall
Nevada
Wyoming
Central Michigan
Northern Illinois
California
Washington
Oregon
Oregon State
USC
Arizona
Utah
Arizona State
UCLA
Kentucky
Missouri
Tennesee
Georgia (1-0)
Florida (1-0)
Ole Miss
Auburn
Texas A&M
Alabama
Mississippi State
LSU
New Mexico State
Louisiana-Monroe
South Alabama (1-0)
Texas State (1-0)

Obviously there's a lot of teams still out there, but for the most part, this is the pool of teams that I'll look at for my rankings. (0-0) is not counted, as that is also winless, and assume teams are 2-0 here unless otherwise noted.


The top five best games of week two

5. Arizona vs. University of Texas San Antonio

I love Thursday night football. It rarely disappoints. You may be asking yourself who UTSA is, right now. UTSA's football program was started from scratch by Larry Coker, of Miami fame, in 2009. Cue Arizona coming to the Alamodome in San Antonio, with many people thinking that the Wildcats would have an easy game. This was not to be. Long story short, Arizona was ahead 26-16 in the 4th quarter when UTSA scored a TD, their defense locked down the Wildcat offense (which had set a school record for yards last week vs. a bowl team in UNLV), and we had a 26-23 game of it. Unfortunately for the Roadrunners, however, Arizona's defense came up big, and one horrible shovel pass later, the Wildcats avoided an upset. If you watched that game, you would know that the Roadrunners were not a cupcake team, by any means.

4. Eastern Washington vs. Washington

Remember the name Vernon Adams. That's what every Huskies fan will be doing after this trap game. For those of you who don't remember, the Eagles beat Oregon State last season in another high scoring shootout. Last season Adams threw 55 touchdown passes. The Huskies came out on top, but allowing 52 points against an FCS team doesn't look good, even if it was one of the league's best offenses. Lucky for the Huskies, they put up 59 of their own. If you like offense, this game had a lot of it.

3. Memphis vs. UCLA

I'll take "Things nobody expected for 500". What a game this was. The Tigers showed up in a thriller against the Bruins, similar to the UTSA - UA game, only the disparity was percieved as bigger. Additionally, this matchup was clearly a battle of quarterbacks, with two great players leading their team down the field. You may have heard of Brett Hundley, who showed everyone why he's one of the most NFL-ready QBs in college football, but are you ready for Paxton Lynch? Despite his team losing this game, Lynch has now shown himself to be an elite quarterback with excellent mobility, and above average passing skills. Unfortunately, this game probably didn't get many viewers, but those who saw it got yet another thriller. For UCLA, this win looks bad, but what people won't know is that Memphis is a respectable opponent. Yes, we're talking about football, and not basketball.

2. Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State

The B1G is a conference which has been embattled as of late, dealing with many people accusing their teams of being weaker than the other conferences in the Power Five. With the top recruit in high school football visiting, and considering both teams in this game, the stakes were upped a little bit. Ohio State's a university that attracts a large amount of hate, and tonight, their detractors were more vocal than they've been in a while. Why? With many other high profile B1G losses, Ohio State losing to Virginia Tech (a team notorious for choking), was amplified. The final score was 35-21, and at times, the Buckeye's offense looked impotent, especially on the offensive line, where the Hokies were constantly finding penetration and collapsing the pocket. Losing Miller also hurt the tOSU offense significantly, because Meyer likely designed his strategy around him.

1. Oregon vs. Michigan State

The Pac-12 proving its worth, yeah! I love the Ducks, and I will admit that I love them, so at times if you sense a bias, then yes, there is a conflict of interest. That being said, I will try to be as unbiased as I can. Anyhow, the Ducks are getting recognition for a new and improved line game, which was on full display last Saturday. The Ducks won by 19 and covered the spread. I'm not saying their team is elite, but they are looking like it right now. Time will tell.


PICKS FOR WEEK TWO AS OF THURSDAY AFTERNOON

All games picked involve either top 25 teams and / or Power 5 conferences.
Because I'll be counting my record here, I'll set some ground rules now for a few terms besides simply making a name bold to imply I picked them. When I say a game is even, I'm predicting it will be decided by eight points (one possession) or less. When I predict a blowout, I'm predicting a team will win by at least 20 points. 'Nuff said.

East Carolina - #17 Virginia Tech
Georgia Southern - Georgia Tech (EVEN)
Pitt - Florida International
Syracuse - Central Michigan
#21 Louisville - Virginia
Arkansas State - Miami
North Carolina State - South Florida
Kansas - Duke (ACC Blowout of the week)
Wake Forest - Utah State (EVEN)
#9 USC - Boston College
#8 Baylor - Buffalo
West Virginia - Maryland (The B1G is Overrated Game of the Week
Arkansas - Texas Tech
Iowa State - Iowa (B1G Blowout of the week)
Minnesota - TCU
UTSA - Oklahoma State
Tennessee - #4 Oklahoma
#12 UCLA - Texas (EVEN; they're equally bad)
Indiana - Bowling Green
Kent State - #22 Ohio State
Miami (OH) - Michigan
Illinois - Washington
Purdue - #11 Notre Dame
Penn State - Rutgers
Nebraska - Fresno State
#25 BYU - Houston
Army - #15 Stanford (Insane Upset Pick of the week)
Wyoming - #2 Oregon (Pac-12 Blowout of the week
Portland State - Washington State (EVEN)
#16 Arizona State - Colorado
Nevada - Arizona
UCF - #20 Missouri (EVEN)
Massachusetts - Vanderbilt (EVEN)
#6 Georgia - #24 South Carolina (SEC Blowout game of the week)
Louisiana-Lafayette - #14 Ole Miss
Mississippi State - Southern Alabama (Trap game of the week)
Southern Mississippi - #3 Alabama
Louisiana Monroe - #10 Louisiana State
Kentucky - Florida (EVEN)
Rice - #7 Texas A&M

THE WORD OF THE WEEK

The big word this week in the college football world is MEANINGLESS.
This describes the AP Polls pretty accurately this year. They have some indication of a team's ability, but in this writer's opinion, things like Texas A&M being ranked seventh doesn't mean much. Even still the SEC likes to make it seem like they're hot by scheduling cupcakes... you get the idea. The AP Poll is meaningless when it comes to comparing the top 25 teams right now.

Written by Brickington

2014-09-11

What do we learn, how much can we achive?

As most of you noticed, the NFL was recently caught up in yet another gruesome domestic violence case. Ray Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL, only after a second video of him beating his then fiancee unconscious was released this Monday.

Now, the NFL and the Ravens have handled this situation as badly as they can. The team supported Rice all the way up until Monday, and is now trying to cover up the embarassing level of support they gave him. The NFL has - too little, too late - admitted after the second video turned up that their initial 2-Game suspension was wrong, but questions remain whether they had access to that video already when they handed down the 2-game ban.

What's worse, a lot of football outlets, media writers and fans still talk about domestic violence in a defending fashion, using strategies that shift the focus away from the systemic nature of the problem. There's victim blaming for instance happening at the biggest of sports media. There a forums and facebook pages making opinion polls, as if domestic violence is a opinion one can vote on. There's people claiming it's self-defense, and people saying it's only an isolated incident, even though Panthers DE Greg Hardy was convicted in July for assaulting his girlfriend and throwing her onto a pile of guns. No suspension by the NFL so far, even though they now have a "zero tolerance" policy against domestic abuse. 49er Ray McDonald and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are other recent high profile cases where the NFL and most of the public is decidedly quiet.

NFL rates of domestic violence and sexual offense are way higher than the national average, and yet the league, self-proclaimed as a shining beacon of American morals, hands downs suspensions for such cases that pale in comparison for instance to non-violent (and non-sexist) drug-offenses.

Outside the NFL, things are not much better. The US still has a huge problem in that area. Some 24 people - - mostly women - - per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. And it won't get better by belittling it in the Football world, where so many (especially young) people get their inspiration from.

So, if your interested for more information on that topic, you can read great articles on the Rice case here, here and here. More so, there are good resources to find out more about domestic violence (and what one can do to help) here and here. The better informed we are, the better we can help shift discussions of such incidents towards a solution instead of defending the status quo.

But reading and talking ain't all. As a platform for football fans, RedZoneAction.org strongly rejects any misogynistic statements defending domestic violence, but we can do more than that. Therefore, for the next 4 weeks we will donate 10 $ from every purchase of a 12 months Supporter Account to Equality Now, a well-established NGO fighting against domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Thank you for your attention and support!

Thanks to wiesengrund for coming up with it, and collecting resources

2014-09-03

Brick's Picks - Volume 2

Welcome to the second edition of Brick's Picks. Today we'll be tackling two subjects: The new rankings, and week two's slate of games.

First on the agenda is the new AP poll!
http://espn.go.com/college-football/rankings/_/poll/1

FSU remains on top, howevever they are hemmorhaging votes. As a fan of college football, I cannot remember the last time rankings changed so drastically over the period of one week, even from the preseason rankings to week one. Texas A&M and South Carolina traded ranks! To put this in perspective, A&M was #21 and South Carolina was #9 heading into the season. Barring the top two spots in college football, and a few minor details, the AP Top 25 has become extremely accurate, in this writer's opinion. Seven different teams recieved #1 votes, in other news, so while FSU and Alabama held on to their respective spots, their performances against Oklahoma State and West Virginia did not go unnoticed, evidenced in their averages.

Here's where I have the FBS teams of college football (1-25):

1. Florida State
2. Oregon
3. Oklahoma
4. Georgia
5. Michigan State
6. Ohio State
7. Stanford
8. Notre Dame
9. Baylor
10. Texas A&M
11. LSU
12. USC
13. Ole Miss
14. Arizona State
15. UCLA
16. Wisconsin
17. Nebraska
18. Kansas State
19. Missouri
20. Louisville
21. Duke
22. Penn State
23. Arizona
24. Western Kentucky
25. Boston College

I'm sure you're seeing names you might not have expected on the list, but this is week one. We have only one performance from each of these teams to base the rankings on- and I'd rather not give these spots to unranked teams like Oklahoma State or Navy for losses- even with outstanding performances in each of their games, considering their opponents. Oklahoma State moved up in the polls despite losing 37-31 to FSU in the AP Poll, and while I understand the reason, I disagree with the choice to give them more points out of principle. You win, you advance. You lose, you drop down.

That's all for this edition of Brick's Picks! Please get as angry as possible and write me a reply in the forums!

Written by Brickington