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FBS Offseason 1 - Underclassmen

Welcome to the offseason.

If you think there is not much happening in college football during January, after the BCS-Championship game and the first to play game end of August or beginning of September ... well then you are wrong.

Yes, they don't play much football in that time.

But still things are happening, which do decide the direction your favourite program will take.

An on-going progress until there is closure in the NFL coaching carousel is the departure and arrival of new head coaches and assistants.

It makes no sense to get into that issue in detail at the moment, since this process will easily take another 3-4 weeks (after Superbowl weekend and some more) until the NFL has all their pieces together and THEN it is possible for the last college team to make their move and fill the last gaps on their coaching staff.
Of cause there is also always a chance that after that moment a coach is fired or does step down, like last year when Bobby Petrino did step down, after he lied to his Athletic Director and left Arkansas in a hurry before season start.

I will look at the coaches changes probably in February, and then it should be save for almost all teams.

Next thing which happens is the realignment of teams to new conferences.
In the past that was just a few every few years, but in the last years did basically a ton of teams change conferences.
It's like a domino effect, when the big programs decided to increase their conferences to 12 or beyond, the left behind conferences had to fill up their ranks by other teams from lower levelled conferences and so on.
First conference which will probably does fall completely out of the football universe will be the Western Athletic Conference.

I will have also a look in that issue somewhere in the future.

Then there is recruiting for the next generation. I will not cover that, because it is from my point of view insane.
All those rankings and ratings are worthless, if there is not the right coach at the right time to bring that talent in full strength on the field.
If you look at some football teams this season and their positive (like UCLA) or negative (like Southern Miss) turnaround, the difference is not the recruiting class of 2012.
It's a factor in that, yes, but the main factor was the coach or the coaching stuff in total.
I will not cover over 120 teams with 50-100 players each, that's insane.
I hope you understand that.

Most recent event in college football is the early entry declaration of players who did play at least 3 years on college level.
This progress is at full speed at the moment and I already hinted the problem with this possibility for players.

There is no guarantee you get drafted and then you are not only unemployed, but you also lost your chance on a college degree (at least a free one, if you pay for your last year in college you can do graduate, but not play football).
Of cause there would have been also the chance you get not drafted after your senior season, but at least then you have the college degree.

It's a bet and at least the big time starters can hope for the first or second round of the draft.
But ... there is no guarantee.
The kids can check with some advisory board of the NFL, but they can be wrong. They project the highest round and then you have to decide.

Let's have a look at the underclassmen of last year’s draft.

There were 67 players on that list (some do list only 65, because some do technically not count as underclassmen, but those players did leave college football with a year or more left to play).

You have to remember, that those players did sign up to leave for a chance in the NFL.
They WANTED to play in the NFL.

It's not like a senior player is not drafted by a team and does not play, because he doesn't want to or did not get a roster spot.
No, those guys did throw everything into the jackpot and waited for the lottery win.

First the good news:
19 Players were taken in the first round. Since there are only 32 picks, that's more than half of all picks in the first round. For those kids, it did pay of big.
8 players were taken in the second round, 7 in the third, 6 in the forth. Those did get some nice contracts but it was not what they were looking for, right? Well, if they get a contract extension in their fourth year, it still went OK, I think.
1 was taken in the fifth, 1 in the sixth and 2 in the seventh round. Well, from financial point of view this is still a lottery. If they can stay in the league and prove they are worth it, they might get big dollars. More likely they will end up with veteran minimum or get cut. Still, there are exceptions.
The same is valid for the 4 undrafted free agents who are still on some rosters. And there is one 6th rounder on a practice squad and 3 undrafted free agents are also listed as practice squad members.
What does that mean? It means you can train with the teams, but are not allowed to play. You get not much money and they are still hoping to get promoted to full squad member.

So for those 52 players is the NFL dream still alive and for some it already paid off.

No let's have a look at the gamblers who failed.
ALL went undrafted.
So if you get drafted your chances are higher to make the team, which is logical.
I found 2 players of those undrafted who do play in the CFL and 2 players are listed as UFL members.
That's for sure not a big dollar chance.
It's an earn-some-money-out-of-your-talent-and-hope-for-the-better-chance.
The most stunning number is that 11 players were not drafted and I did not found any record of them being a member of any football roster. I could be that they went to Europe or somewhere else and do earn a nickel for playing, or maybe they do work as burger flippers. I don’t know.

While I did the research for this blog entry I did read a lot about those kids and many had issues with their schools, were kicked off their teams or suspended and did decide to better declare for the draft, than getting their life on track.
But there were also kids with more confidence than you expect to be healthy.
When I looked up their names on the internet I found often "What was ... thinking by declaring for the draft?"
So many people were stunned at that time and so am I after I did count the lottery losers.

11 players did basically throw their chances for an education for free away.

I can understand that many players do hear the money call and suddenly you have a lot of friends they never met before, but how can they get that stupid?

Those first 4 round picks were told they can get as high as 1-2 round and you can bet that they got nervous, once the second round was over.
But I'm sure those other kids did receiver much lesser round prognoses and they did still declare?

Well, I can't change anything on that.
The deadline for this year declaration is 15th of January and so far 72!!! did declare.
They can still change their mind, so this number is not final, but ... hello? 72???

There are 6!! TEs on the list (last year there were only 11 TEs drafted) and a PUNTER (last year only 2 were drafted). It’s not that there won’t be any competition. There will be around 20*124 seniors from the FBS plus the same number from the FCS and even more from lower divisions.

We will see how this will turn out.
I personally do think that this development is more than concerning.
Of cause those kids/young men can do what they think is best for them, but this system as it is today is a system build on the suffering of hundreds, if not thousands, of kids every year.
Maybe this is the Amercian Way of Life, I don't know, but since colleges do earn a lot of money in this game, maybe they should take better care of their players.
I really don't know.
But it seems wrong that talented kid does everything to get into the NFL, gets pampered on this way, as long as he brings the return of invest, gets the impression to be Superman and Hyperion in union as long as he plays football and once reality comes calling, they fall as hard as possible.
Maybe keeping them on the ground regarding their status in society would be a start.

‘Til next time


BOWLS - The last - the National Championship Game

And the National Champions are the

Alabama Crimson Tide!


And you can like or hate Nick Saban (the HC of Alabama) as much as you like, everybody has to admit he can coach.

In today’s College Football world it is hard enough to win a national title once.

He won it 4 times with two different teams and of those 3 times in 4 years with the Tide.

With that he is in VERY good company regarding legendary coaches and he is not done yet.

For comparison, Bear Bryant won 6 National Championships with Alabama in his very long career with the Tide and he is one of the most respected coaches ever.

So, what happened last night?


There was a lot of buzzing before the game.
Notre Dame with its rich football tradition (earned mostly in the early 20th century) against Alabama as one of the most successful programs of all time (some say THE most successful ever, earn also in the early 20th century and during Bear Bryant legacy in the sixties to eighties).

I think nobody really wanted to get into the deep analysis before the game, because all signs were there to have one sided match.

Alabama had won the tough SEC, Notre Dame did play a tough schedule, but by far not as tough as that SEC schedule.
Alabama did basically dominate the whole season and had not many close games; Notre Dame did almost stumble in almost every game and did survive one or two only by luck.
But nobody was interested in that, since the story was so nice.
Good to sell.

Well ... Alabama did score 35 unanswered points until Notre Dame did score the first time deep in the third quarter.

The Crimson Tide did look terrific on offense and that offensive line did dominate that so praised tough defense line of Notre Dome at will.

Manti Te'o, the Heisman Finalist Linebacker of Notre Dame had one of his worst games I've seen of him. He missed several tackles and did lose the sight of the ball carrier more than once.

Notre Dame had some bad luck also, especially on a punt return, where the Alabama returner did signal a fair catch and a Notre Dame player did ran into him, because he was pushed by an Alabama player.
Instead of ruled as a fumble and the recovery by Notre Dame, the refs did rule an interference call and Alabama had the ball for their next scoring drive on mid field.

But honestly I think that did not matter much.
The game was 0-28 in the half and Notre Dame still was not able to get points on the board, when they came out of the locker room.

Good sign for the future of Notre Dame, there are a lot of people left for next season.
Bad news for them, this is also true for Alabama.
And with a perfect Ohio State team from this year, the challenges for next year will not become less. More the opposite is true.

At the end of the day, Notre Dame did finish this season in the TOP 4 (AP) and probably the same with the coaches (not public yet), which is very good.
For Alabama, it will be interesting to see, how many of their players will declare for the draft and then build around the rest.

And of cause all have to look at Nick Saban.

It might be that the NFL sirens will start singing again.

That's it. The last Bowl was played.

Now comes the off season, which includes recruiting and the remaining coaching changes. I will see what I will do in that time.
That blog is not dead until August.

‘Til next time


BOWLS - the seventh (and almost last)

I decided to review the Championship game in a separate entry, so here are the reviews of the Bowl games from last week, except the BCS-Final.


ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL: #21 Louisville vs #3 Florida
Wow, that was an upset I think nobody did see coming.
Louisville did play very good and that QB is worth a watch next year.
On the other hand we have a very bad playing Gator-QB and a very undisciplined Gator-team.
Almost 100 yards in penalties including several personal foul are just too much against a team playing almost perfect.
With that comes a questionable coaching decision starting of the second half, where Florida was behind and did kick an Onside Kick.
In the recovery events it came to a brawl and a Gator did throw a punch, got ejected and Louisville got the ball deep in Gator territory, scored and Florida did trail even more.
What could have been, was visible in the last quarter when Florida did made first downs and scored, but it was much too late to tie a game they destroyed by themselves in the first 3 quarters.
Well, that Gator coaching staff is not stupid, so they will get that team on track next year.
33-23 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 15-14

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: #4 Oregon vs #5 Kansas State
This went a bit as expected.
And it started not well for Kansas State already.
The Ducks did return a coffin corner kick off starting the game the whole distance for a score.
Until the half it was an open game and Kansas State did had chances to get in lead, but a very nice Ducks defense did do their best to prevent that.
A deep pass by the Wildcats almost end of the half was knocked out of the hands of the catching WR a few yards before the endzone.
A catch would have probably meant a score for the Wildcats.
The Ducks did prevent that and then scored a TD by themselves within under a minute to get into halftime with a nice lead.
In the second half it was more or less Ducks dominated, even there was not that much scoring.
One interesting event did happen, when the Ducks did score again a TD.
They trie do kick the extra point and the kick was blocked.
So free ball for a defense return, if you get it, right?
Right. A KSU-Player did catch the blocked ball in the air and did run into his own endzone to get away from the Oregon players and to return the Ball.
You all know, this can happen very easily on a try, since the LOS is right in front of the endzone (3 yard line).
That Wildcats player was almost brought down by Ducks players in the endzone, so he did try a lateral (but it was a forward pass) and the play ended with the unhappy Wildcat player catching that false lateral been tackled in the endzone.
You don't see that very often.
So now all eyes are on Chip Kelly and his eventually NFL career start somewhere.
35-17 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 16-14

AT&T COTTON BOWL: #9 Texas A&M vs #11 Oklahoma
I'm stunned over that A&M team.
This will be fun to watch in the next season.
Their QB will be back as he is only a redshirt freshman, so no worries here.
What happened?
They crushed Oklahoma in the second half, after it were an open game until halftime. (score 14-13)
They kept Oklahoma scoreless in the whole second half and won big against their former conference rival.
Johnny Manziel, the Heisman winner, did everything; he did throw for 287 yards and 2 scores and ran for 229 yards and 2 scores.
Bob Stoops, the Oklahoma HC, is a fine coach, but his Bowl fate is not that good (7-6).
We will see, if Oklahoma can rebound from that loss, next year.
For A&M, the expectations will be next year sky high.
41-13 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 16-15

BBVA COMPASS BOWL: Pittsburgh vs Ole Miss
When two 6-6 teams are meeting, this is normally not so good.
Except you have a new are and that one 6-6 team was very bad last year and did play 6-6 despite the fact it has to play a tough SEC schedule.
Ole Miss did great against Pitt and won.
I'm curious to see them next season.
17-38 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 17-15

GODADDY.com BOWL: #25 Kent State vs Arkansas State
I said it could go either way and at the end the SBC team did win, not the MAC team.
It's always a bad thing if you have to play with an interims coach, but this time both teams did lose their HC after the season because of new jobs and you never know how the teams will play in that situation.
I don't want to take away anything from Arkansas State here, but for me it looked like Kent State did suffer more from the HC loss than Arkansas State.
That Interception thrown in Arkansas States Endzone was probably a game changer.
Not only did Kent State not score, no, they also lost the ball and moved the chains to touchback point.
Well. We will see, how they will play next season under new management.
17-38 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 17-16

National Championship game will come tomorrow.

At the moment it is time for the so called underclassmen to declare for the draft and as every year some do (in average this is increasing year by year).
Some unique situation here, Björn Werner did declare for the draft.
He is a German football player who won a national championship with Berlin, when he played in Berlin Adlers (means eagles) youth team in Germany.
He did play the last 3 years for Florida State and is on some draft boards very high, some have him in TOP 5 of DE, some have him in TOP 5 overall.

Personally I don't know what I would do in that situation.
This is a very big lottery ticket you carry there.
The price? Money and fame.

Here are the rules:
Declare for draft, and eventually get drafted very high, get a very nice contract and millions up front before playing a game. Then you might be very good on the field, good, fine, or you suck. You don't know.
After 5 years you will have to get a new contract and you might get it or not.

Do not declare for the draft, play another year in college, finish college (maybe), win a championship (maybe), suffer a career ending injury (maybe) or just a bad injury (maybe). Get drafted (maybe) and then the same as getting drafted a year earlier, just with two difference. More experienced and one year of hitting more on the clock.
You might end up (because of the experience) making a better start and a better impact in the NFL and getting easier the contract extension.

So bottom line is, you might get the earlier dollar now, but more money if you went pro later, or you might end up with no money at all.

Tough from my point of view.

Think about it.

‘Til next time


BOWLS - the sixth

So we are almost done with the Bowls. Just a few ahead.


Hey, that was nice.
The Commodores did play really good and never gave North Carolina the chance for a comeback.
That caps a nice season for Vanderbilt.
38-24 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 9-10

USC by a mile? I couldn't have been more wrong.
Georgia Tech did outplay them by any way they wanted and USC is by that the sloppiest team so far in the Bowls.
USC was #1 in the preseason polls and they lost 6 games. NEVER did any team fall so deep.
Lane Kiffin should just stop doing his self dominating talking and start coaching.
7-21 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 9-11

Iowa State did lead 17-7 starting of the second quarter.
Then Tulsa did bring out its powerful running game and basically ran over the Cyclones.
Nice ending for Tulsa.
31-17 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 10-11

Chick-fil-A BOWL: #8 LSU vs #14 Clemson
Well that was close. As close as it can get.
Imagine LSU did lead 24-13 starting of the fourth quarter and they stopped a long drive so Clemson did only score a Field Goal.
24-16. LSU was basically unable to play after that on offense and Clemson did another long drive.
They scored a TD and failed the 2-point-conversion.
24-22. LSU was again not able to get a single first down. By passing! Stupid! They need 2 yards and they needed to run down the clock or at least burn the Clemson Timeouts.
Clemson get the ball back with 1:39 on the clock.
LSU stopped the first 3 tries and we have 4th and 16!
Then 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Defensive Backs were not able to hinder a WR to catch a ball, while he was basically falling to the ground between them.
Clemson drove down the field, and kicked a Field Goal with time running out.
Les Miles sucked.
24-25 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 10-12

TAXSLAYER.com GATOR BOWL: Mississippi State vs #20 Northwestern
This is history.
Northwestern won its first Bowl since ... 1949!
With a nice mix on passing and rushing and a stingy defense did Northwestern win this one.
It was close until the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs most of the time trying to play catch up with the Wildcat.
Nicly done!
20-34 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 10-13

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: Purdue vs Oklahoma State
This was as expected.
In every quarter the Cowboys were better and faster. Smarter and just dominant.
A pity they did not play that way the whole season.
For Purdue, with a new coach waiting it will be a rough off season.
14-58 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 11-13

OUTBACK BOWL: #10 South Carolina vs #18 Michigan
Wow, that was a thriller.
At first it looked like a clear Gamecock win.
But the Wolverines did come back and scored in the third quarter for 21-22 and later in the fourth for 27-28.
With 3:29 on the clock, the Gamecocks were given the ball at their own 30.
The clock had only 11 seconds left, when they scored a TD and won the game.
33-28 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 12-13

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: #7 Georgia vs #16 Nebraska
This was fun to watch.
It started with some laughings, like a blocked punt by Georgia and 11 Georgia players were not able to recover a ball in the Nebraska endzone for TD.
It wobbled out of it for a safty.
Then there was an interception thrown by Georgia for a pick six by Nebraska.
They did play scoring by us then you score back until the beginning of the fourth quarter.
It was 31-31 at that point.
Just four minutes later it was 45-31 for Georgia and the game was over.
I don't know what happened.
Well, Ok i do, but how did this happen?
Georgia was deep in Nebraska Territory when the third quarter ended and they did score the next down with a 24 yard TD.
Then Nebraska sucked on offense.
And then came a 87 yard pass TD of which were around 80 yards run after catch.
Where was the defense? Gone? They sucked.
I think that RB did get into the endzone untouched.
After that all went into hibernation and Georgia won.
45-31 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 13-13

Well, the Badgers of the Big Ten Championship did not show up.
Maybe that was a one in a life time performance, I don't know.
Stanford did start well and lead 14-0 here.
After that Wisconsin did come back and at Halftime it was 14-17 from Wisconsin point of view.
After that the scoring did basically stop and they fought tough defense battles.
Stanford won at the end.
That's now three dropped Rose Bowls in a row for Wisconsin.
I hope that new coach will bring back some Badgers pride.
14-20 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 14-13

DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL: #15 Northern Illinois vs #12 Florida State
It was not a that big blowout as I expected.
But Northern Illinois did not stand a chance here.
But they played hard and kept the game more or less open until the fourth quarter.
Then the Seminoles did close it up and won it.
10-31 -> Jacks Bowl Score: 15-13

That was a better run this time ..... Maybe I can pick as good on the last few ones, too.

And now let’s take a look at the next upcoming games.


There are still some games to play, including the BCS Bowls left and of cause the BCS-Final.

ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL: #21 Louisville vs #3 Florida
This is played on Wednesday.
Since 1935 is this Bowl played and they field it at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints.
This is a BCS Bowl.
Normally the SEC Champion plays here, but since 7 years, the SEC-Champion plays in the BCS-Finals on a regular basis and the Bowl people can s e l e c t a different team, fitting the rules.
The second team also has to fit the rules.
Each team gets around 17.000.000$.
They picked Florida as the highest SEC team beside Alabama playing for the national championship as SEC Champ and they picked the Big East Champion Louisville.
I don't think this will be a very nice game, since Florida will probably dominate, but who knows.
I think Louisville has to play a perfect game to get near a win.
The Cardinals have a nice defense, but so has Florida, so don't expect too many point.
I pick Florida for the win.

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: #4 Oregon vs #5 Kansas State
This is played on Thursday.
The Bowl is played since 1971 and belongs to the BCS-Bowls.
It is now played in the University of Phoenix Stadium at Glendale, Arizona, home of the Arizona Cardinals.
Funny thing is, that the name does NOT indicate it belong to the University, it is just a sponsor name.
The Big 12 Champ plays a BCS at large opponent.
Each team gets around 17.000.000$.
This year, Kansas State was sooooooooooooo close playing for the big one.
They lost to Baylor and by that they dropped some ranks in the BCS-Ranking and had to settle for that Bowl.
Oregon was also soooooooooooooooooo close winning it all and play for the big title.
They lost to Stanford and by that did not had a chance to play in the PAC 12 Final and by that they dropped in the BCS-Ranks.
So we have an almost-Finalist against an almost-Finalist.
Should be fun.
Chip Kelly the HC of Oregon is in big talk for a coaching position in the NFL so hopefully that does not distract the team.
On a perfect day I would say the Ducks will win.
Will it be perfect on that day?
I don't know.
Never underestimate Kansas State it is also said.
But Bill Snyder is 0-2 in the last two Bowls.
So I think Kelly will have his team better prepared and playing better.
Ducks win and probably will lose its HC after that.

AT&T COTTON BOWL: #9 Texas A&M vs #11 Oklahoma
This is played on Friday.
This one exists since 1937.
It brings a Big 12 team against a SEC team.
Each team gets around 7.250.000$.
Funny thing in this one is, that Texas A&M was a Big 12 team until this season, where they started as SEC team.
Now those two teams with a Big 12 Rivalry in the past do face each other in that Bowl.
Texas A&M almost eliminated Alabama from National Title dreams (and only the stupidity of Oregon and Kansas State did bring Alabama back in that National Title game) and they did only lose against LSU and Florida.
Oklahoma did play a bit sloppy in the beginning of the season and did only lose to Kansas State.
This should be great.
I expect the Sooners at full speed and in all their juggernaut pride and I do expect Texas A&M with their Heisman-QB to fight the fight of their live.
I pick the Sooners!
Because I think they are better than everybody thinks and they will show this.

BBVA COMPASS BOWL: Pittsburgh vs Ole Miss
This is played on Saturday.
Since 2006 is this Bowl played and is fielded in Legion Field at Birmingham, Alabama, home of the UAB Blazers.
It's a Big East vs SEC game.
The teams get around 900.000$.
I'm not that excited about that game.
Pitt is way away from being a Powerhouse and Ole Miss is on a nice way back but there are still some steps to make.
If a Big East Team fights a SEC team, I have a hard time picking against the SEC.
And as much as some Pitt games were nice and close, I can't pick against an up and coming Ole Miss team.
So the Rebels will win and the Panthers ... not.

GODADDY.com BOWL: #25 Kent State vs Arkansas State
This is played on Sunday.
Since 1999 is this Bowl played.
This is played at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, home of the newcomers on FBS level this season, the South Alabama Jaguars.
At the moment it is a Sun Belt Conference vs MAC Bowl.
Each team gets around 750.000$.
This will be fun and then some.
Unfortunately BOTH headcoaches did accept already at other (better paid) programs and so two interims coaches will battle against each other.
Kent State was soooooooooooo good, I'm still stunned by that turnaround.
Arkansas State was the defending SBC champ and did stumble in the beginning, but finished strong.
So who will win here?
I pick the MAC team, Kent State.
But this can go either way!

DISCOVER BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: #1 Notre Dame vs #2 Oklahoma State
This is played on Monday.
This is a bit new, since in the past the champion was found in one of the BCS Bowls and not in a special Bowl.
Since 2007 this game exists and the site is rotated year by year from one BCS-Bowl site to the next one.
This year it is played in Sun Life Stadium, Miami (see Orange Bowl).
It is always the #1 ranked team against the #2 ranked team of the BCS rankings.
Each team gets around 18.000.000$.
Let's start with Notre Dame.
They played a perfect season, no loss (a couple of close games) and they are back as an icon of College Football.
At least that's what the media says.
For me, this is all hype regarding the "back on top" stuff. If they compete for the next 5-10 years, THEN I believe that, but one season is not worth the hype.
Still a very good season and we will see, how that very good defense will play against Alabama.
Alabama was almost eliminated from competition.
They lost against Texas A&M and only because Kansas State AND Oregon lost at the same gameday by stupidity, the Crimson Tide did come back into the mix.
And they stayed there as #2.
As much as I do like to see the Fighting Irish to win this and as much as I would not like to see Nick Saban win his 3rd Title in 4 year ...
I can't see Notre Dame win this one against a Nick Saban with 4 weeks of preparation.
I think that will not happen.
I can see Notre Dame becoming a regular contender, but not this year.
I pick the Tide.

That's it. The last Bowl.

‘Til next time


Happy New Year 2013

...and lots of success, luck, healthyness to you and your loved ones!

Thank you so much for playing the game, for supporting this little baby.

A big cheers to all of you!

Preachie and Pete