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Sunday Blitz

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 18, 2011

I’m with The Wife and The Daughter visiting family this weekend, so please forgive me for a very abbreviated NFL picks column. We’ll give it a better effort next week. For now:

Picks in ALL CAPS

NEW ORLEANS (-6.5) v. Chicago
NY JETS (-9.5) v. Jacksonville
PITTSBURGH (-14.5) v. Seattle
OAKLAND (+4.5) at Buffalo
DETROIT (-8) v. Kansas City
WASHINGTON (-3.5) v. Arizona
TENNESSEE (+6) v. Baltimore
CAROLINA (+10.5) v. Green Bay
MINNESOTA (-3) v. Tampa Bay
CLEVELAND (-2) at Indianapolis
SAN FRANCISCO (+3) v. Dallas
HOUSTON (-3) at Miami
San Diego (+7) at New England
DENVER (-3.5) v. Cincinnati
PHILADELPHIA (-2) at Atlanta
ST. LOUIS (+6) at NY Giants

Last Week: 10-4-1
Season: 10-4-1

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Posted in Sports | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Sunday Blitz

One for the Road

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 16, 2011

Another week has flown by here at BlogHawgs.  It’s been a great week, and as always we are grateful that you chose to spend some of your time with us.  This is the calm before the storm.  Bama Week kicks off on Sunday, and we’ll be ready to roll.  We’ve got some excellent stuff in the works, so please be sure to check back next week.  You’ll be glad you did.

Here are a few of our most popular stories from the week:

BlogHawgs Razorback Rewind – Week 2

Spirit, Mullen Both Confused on Saturday

NFL – Evaluating Week 1

The Idiot Box – Emmy Preview

Should Texas Change from Burnt Orange to Yellow?

Arkansas Football Team to be Featured Next Month in ESPN TV Series

BlogHawgs Week 3 College Football Preview – Twitter Style

Free Money – Week 3

For this week’s One for the Road, we return to Grantland.com for an exceptional look at college football — but not the games we watch on Saturdays.  Chuck Klosterman looks at small schools and the games they play.  These teams operate in a completely different reality than the Division I fellas.  From facilities, to players, to schemes, it’s a night-and-day difference.  For example:

Last October, Maine Maritime Academy defeated Westfield State University, 42-21. That score was probably mentioned in a few newspapers, but that doesn’t make it news; this was a Division III game between two members of the New England Football Conference, hosted by a town with a population of 1,300 and a community aesthetic matching Cujo. But there’s one detail about this contest that made it unlike almost every other college football game from 2010: Maritime won by three touchdowns while passing for exactly 0 yards.

They rushed for 435, but they passed for none (they threw the ball just five times, and the only one that didn’t hit the ground was an interception). Even weirder, the Mariners managed to win without controlling the clock — Westfield had a greater time of possession. Yet as unorthodox and lopsided as those numbers seem, they were only slightly crazier than most of Maritime’s 2010 schedule: The Mariners went 6-1 in their conference, scored more than 46 points a contest, and somehow averaged 16 passing yards a game. The week after beating Westfield, Maritime defeated Framingham State 50-26, again throwing for 0 yards. The week after that, they knocked off Massachusetts Maritime by a single point — and here, again, they won without a single passing yard. They went 5-0 in October with 63 total passing yards (not 63 per game, but 63 for October). Half their team stats seem like misprints; last season, the Mariners’ starting quarterback appeared in 11 games and completed a total of 17 passes. But this is how the Mariners want it. This is the design. This is the most reactionary offense in America.

You can check out the rest of Klosterman’s piece here.  I encourage you to do so.  This is the type of story that reminds me why I love the game.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on One for the Road

Pulaski Academy Bruins Receive National Publicity on SI.com

Posted by Adam Butler on September 16, 2011

The Pulaski Academy (Little Rock) Bruins are once again receiving national attention for their head coach, Kevin Kelley’s extremely unconventional football philosophy, which helped P.A. jump out to a 29-0 lead over Cabot last week before the Panthers ran a play from scrimmage. PA eventually won 64-34 in a “remarkably close” (SI’s words, not mine) game after the initial outburst.

The funny thing about Kelley: He’s not a mad scientist or an iconoclast, zigging where everyone else is zagging, for the hell of it. Rather, he’s a relentlessly rational sort whose methods have backing in data.

The decision not to punt? According to Kelley’s statistics, when a team punts from near its end zone, the opponent will take possession inside the 40-yard line and will then score a touchdown 77 percent of the time. If it recovers on downs inside the 10, it will score a touchdown 92 percent of the time. “So [forsaking] a punt, you give your offense a chance to stay on the field,” he said. “And if you miss, the odds of the other team scoring only increase 15 percent. It’s like someone said, ‘[Punting] is what you do on fourth down,’ and everyone did it without asking why.”

That’s all good and fine, but what I do not understand, and have never heard a valid explanation for, is why Kelley continues to opt for onside kicks and deep passes late in games (often with starters) in which his team has built a clearly insurmountable 30 or 40-point lead–just as it did against Cabot  (although the decisions were not mentioned in the article).

Posted in Commentary, Sports | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

War(y) Damn Eagle–Lovers

Posted by Adam Butler on September 15, 2011

Strangely, this sign is neither an official nor unofficial live mascot of the Auburn Tigers

As we relayed Monday, “Spirit” the Eagle, Auburn’s flying mascot (despite the fact they’re the Tigers), had a little run in with a window at Jordan-Hare Stadium last Saturday. Now, on cue, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is squawking.

Chuck, BlogHawgs Stat Front Man, Brain, called that PETA letter, and it was a good call, brutha.

UPDATE: Sources indicate the cost of construction of an eagle sanctuary would require several $180,000 dollar donations.

Posted in Commentary, Sports | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Free Money – Week 3

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 15, 2011

Two winning weeks in a row means everyone should tread lightly this weekend.  Everyone but us, of course.  Adam and I both maxed out all 8 plays, our parlay, and our teaser options for Week 3.  I don’t see a lot of games I love, but I see a lot I’d sleep with.  This is a fun NFL week because we’ll begin to see which teams are real and which are really lucky (or really bad).  It makes the NFL a bit more difficult to handicap this week, but I see several winners on the board.

Once again, here is a quick recap of the rules:

  • Maximum of 8 single plays during the week
  • One option teaser and one optional parlay also allowed
  • Minimum of $50 wager
  • Players must include at least one CFB and at least one NFL game in the picks
  • Both started the season with a $1,000 bankroll but can buy back into the game if they go bust

For the first time this season, Adam and I are butting heads.  The funning thing is, we’re butting heads on a dog game that we neither one should probably be playing.  Kentucky has looked mediocre at best this season, stumbling to a 2-0 start.  Louisville has been even worse, losing at home to Florida International.  I think I’ll just check for that score on the Internet rather than actually watch the game.

 

Free Money!

Brett ($1,093)

  • Kentucky (-5) v. Louisville, $55 to win $50
  • Oklahoma St. (-13.5) at Tulsa, $55 to win $50
  • Arkansas (-22.5) v. Troy, $77 to win $70
  • Arkansas St. (+24.5) at Virginia Tech, $55 to win $50
  • Detroit (-9) v. Kansas City, $66 to win $60
  • NY Jets (-9) v. Jacksonville, $66 to win $60
  • New Orleans (-6.5) v. Chicago, $66 to win $60
  • Washington (-3.5) v. Arizona, $66 to win $60
  • Parlay: NY Jets (-9), New Orleans (-6.5), and Washington (-3.5), $50 to win $250
  • Teaser:  Navy (+23) v. South Carolina, New Orleans (-0.5)

 

  • Total Wagers:  $616
  • Max Win: $760

 

Adam ($1,210)

  • UNDER 50 – LSU/Mississippi State, $55 to win $50
  • Louisville (+5) at Kentucky, $55 to win $50
  • Wisconsin (-17) at Northern Illinois, $55 to win $50
  • Tennessee (+9.5) at Florida, $55 to win $50
  • Navy (+17) at South Carolina, $55 to win $50
  • Ohio St. (+2.5) at Miami (FL), $55 to win $50
  • Green Bay (-10) at Carolina, $55 to win $50
  • Dallas (-3) at San Francisco, $55 to win $50
  • Parlay:  Ohio St. (+2.5) & Arkansas (-22.5), $50 to win $125
  • Teaser:  Green Bay (-4) & Navy (+23), $60 to win $50

 

  • Total Wagers: $550
  • Max Win: $575

 

Wager accordingly. As usual, BlogHawgs.com is not responsible for missed mortgage payments or repossessed vehicles.

 

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Thursday Night Lights

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 15, 2011

How many times in your life have you heard this statement?  “I sure wish I was in Starkville tonight.”

Believe it or not, that’s a true statement.  Tonight’s game between LSU and Mississippi State is the first critical game of the SEC West slate.  No, critical is not an overstatement.  This is a huge game that will have season-long implications on both teams and the rest of the division.  An LSU win solidifies the Tigers as one of the teams to beat in the conference and the nation.  A Mississippi State victory puts the Bulldogs back in the SEC West race after a humbling setback last week at Auburn.  The oddsmakers list LSU as a 3-point favorite on the road, meaning Vegas thinks LSU is at least a TD better than MSU on a neutral field.  But this game is not on a neutral field.  It’s going to be in an electric atmosphere, under the lights at Davis Wade Stadium.  I sure wish I was in Starkville tonight.

Why LSU should win:  The Tigers have a defense that may be as ferocious as the one in Tuscaloosa.  They have allowed just 91 total yards rushing in two games.  The secondary is under construction, but John Chavis has plenty of talent to rotate.  Mississippi State uses the read-option to set up its play action passing attack.  If the Bulldogs cannot run, it makes Chris Relf a drop back passer – hardly his strength.  Offensively, LSU has been good enough.  Jarret Lee is your classic “game manager” quarterback, controlling the offense largely by handing the ball to LSU’s latest stud running backs, Michael Ford and Spencer Ware.  Lee simply needs to hit enough passes to keep the Bulldogs safeties honest, creating space at the second level for Ford and Ware.  A steady rushing attack coupled with the Tigers front seven should keep the cowbells quiet and the Tigers unbeaten.

Why MSU should win:  The Bulldogs fell behind early last week before correcting some mistakes and making a late push.  But for atrocious play-calling in the last 20 seconds of the game, Mississippi State may have pulled out a victory at Auburn.  The MSU defense is not as bad as it showed Saturday, and they certainly have enough talent to contain a vanilla LSU offense.  By eliminating the big plays (Auburn scored on 2 plays over 30 yards) Mississippi State will force Jarrett Lee to engineer sustained drives for LSU to score.  Offensively, Chris Relf has the ability to take over a football game.  He’s got the potential to put up 400 yards of total offense each week, especially with the emergence of Vic Ballard.  Reducing chunk plays for LSU while putting the game in Relf’s hands will have the cowbell nation clanging loudly well into Friday morning.

And the Winner Is…

My love for Dan Mullen is well known.  I want to take the Bulldogs.  All the intangibles are on their side tonight.  Road games in the SEC are brutally tough, and night games are even more difficult.  So … I’m going to take LSU.

Defying the odds, Les Miles appears to have his team focused on a run at SEC and BCS championships.  Jarrett Lee has shown maturity in the past 2 games, bolstered by the confidence that his defense can win the game.  Lee needs to not lose the game.  He will throw at least one interception tonight, but he will also make a critical third-down conversion in each half.  Ford and Ware will wear down the Bulldogs defense in the second half, and the LSU defensive line will eventually win the war of wills.  This has the markings of a slobber-knocker SEC showdown.  I think this will be a game that reminds us all why we love SEC football.  In the end, it’ll be a big road win for the Tigers.  LSU 23, Mississippi State 17

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Thursday Night Lights

Arkansas Football Team to be Featured Next Month in ESPN TV Series

Posted by Adam Butler on September 14, 2011

The University of Arkansas Football team is one of four (along with Oklahoma State, Auburn and Wisconsin) that will be featured next month in an original ESPN TV series, Depth Chart, which is  part of the network’s Year of the Quarterback initiative.

The series begins Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN and will air on consecutive Wednesdays in the same time slot. Arkansas will wrap the series on Oct. 26. The series will be narrated by ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

So much for the ESP*I*N bias against Arkansas (unless of course the series casts Arkansas in a bad light–in which case I reserve the right to complain incessantly).

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Should Texas Change from Burnt Orange to Yellow?

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 14, 2011

Great column today from Clay Travis at OutKicktheCoverage.com (a ridiculous name because outkicking the coverage is a bad thing) regarding the timid, scared Texas Longhorns.  Travis writes about Texas and their new flirtation with the ACC, noting that the most sensible location for UT long-term is the SEC.  Yet, the Shortwhorns apparently have no interest in competing with the big boys.

The reason is simple, the Texas Longhorn administration, would-be bullies, are scared to play in the nation’s best football conference. As the Longhorns latest soap opera destination appears to be the ACC — Chip Brown at Orangebloods.com had this story first — this means that the Longhorns have four potential destinations right now: remain in the Big 12 with new teams added, leave with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for the Pac 12, join the ACC, or go independent.

Adding Texas would be a coup for the SEC, but as Travis notes the arrogant, elite Texas boosters could not stomach being treated equally.  Sure, Bama still has a lot of sway at the SEC office.  But financially the Tide gets the same cut as Vanderbilt.  Texas could never stand for that.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Wakefield Finally Gets Milestone

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 14, 2011

After trying the entire month of August and half of September, Tim Wakefield finally nailed down his 200th career victory last night.  It’s hard to imagine a more satisfying – and Wakefield-like – win for a team that entered the game on a 5-game losing streak and suddenly in the midst of a Wild Card race long thought to have been done.  I have long been a Wakefield admirer, if for no other reason that I think it’s fun to watch a knuckleballer in action.  That admiration went to a new level last month after I finished his biography, Knuckler, that details one of baseball’s most unusual careers.

The book won’t win any major awards, but it’s a very good read for any baseball fan.  You don’t have to be a Sox fan, a Pirates fan, or even a Wakefield fan to enjoy the book.  It’s simply a good book that tells a great story of a utility infielder on his way out of baseball when a minor league coach noticed that Wakefield threw a knuckleball for fun during warmups.

Wakefield got his first victory as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992, en route to a sensational rookie campaign.  Win number 200 comes twenty years later for a team that needed him to do exactly what he did – eat innings and keep it close.  An interesting tidbit about last night’s game.  Red Sox backup shortstop, Jose Iglesisas, was just 16 months old when Wake won his first game.

For those wondering, Wakefield is not the last of his kind.  R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets developed a knuckleball a few years ago, and he has settled into a very nice career.  Playing at Citi Field, Dickey has a chance to put together a successful, long career.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

NFL – Evaluating Week 1

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 13, 2011

The NFL kicked off with a bang on Thursday, had plenty of entertaining games on Sunday, and ended with a record-tying FG and a Razorback running roughshod in Denver.  Welcome back, NFL.  We missed you.  I’m not sure the league could have scripted things much better.  Every game this season will be measured against the Thursday night opener, a game that proved to be as exciting as any game I can recall watching in recent memory.

The Good

  • Former Arkansas Razorback Darren McFadden thrashed the Broncos defense last night, picking up 150 yards on the ground.  While Run DMC did not find the endzone, McFadden looked every bit the part of a thoroughbred NFL running back.
  • Baltimore proved they can score on anyone, and the Ravens defense looked as good as ever.  Ray Rice may emerge as one of the premiere running backs in the NFL.
  • Does anyone look like he’s having more fun on the field than Aaron Rodgers?  The reigning Super Bowl MVP threw for 312 yards and 3 TDs on Thursday, only misfiring 8 times with no picks.  Who would you take ahead of Rodgers if you were starting an NFL franchise?

The Bad

  • The Pittsburgh defense looked slow and old, giving up 385 yards in their opener.  The offense looked inept, turning it over 7 times.  If the Steelers hope to repeat in the AFC – beating out a very strong field – they need to get things corrected immediately.  They did not look like a Super Bowl caliber team in any phase of the game.
  • You can’t blame the loss of Peyton Manning on the Indianapolis breakdowns on defense and special teams.  Houston gouged the Colts on the ground (without 2010 leading rusher Arian Foster) and Jacoby Jones knifed through the Colts punt coverage for a 79-yard TD return.  The Colts looks like a 4-win team after one week.
  • What the hell happened to Matt Ryan?  The Atlanta quarterback looked lost on Sunday, taking more than 40 yards in sacks including a fumble returned for a touchdown by Brian Urlacher.  Ryan did manage over 300 yards passing, but so did a dozen other quarterbacks.  What he did not manage to do was throw a TD pass.

The Ugly

  • Led by new-old quarterback Kerry Collins, the Indianapolis Colts managed only 236 yards of total offense in a 34-7 loss at Houston.
  • Kansas City suffered its worst ever opening game loss and biggest home loss in 35 years.  Those are both bad.  Losing 41-7 at home to Buffalo, though, is ugly.
  • Chris Johnson made one team look foolish on Sunday.  It was not the opposing Jacksonville Jaguars, though.  Johnson – who missed virtually all of training camp, holding out for a new deal that he ultimately received – “gashed” the Jags defense for 24 yards on 9 carries.  That new deal?  Tennessee handed Johnson a $53.5 million extension with $13 million fully guaranteed.

BK’s Picks – Week 1

It was a good week at the wagering window on Sunday.  I’ve got to figure out which of these games to put in my Free Money picks.  After a mediocre beginning, I ripped off four winners in the last five games of the weekend.  I expect Vegas to figure things out soon, but hopefully I can put together another solid week before that happens.

Week 1 Results — 10-4-1

2011 Season — 10-4-1

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Free Money…but Not Much

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 13, 2011

Better Than Losing

It was a grinder of a week for the Free Money this week.  Both Adam and I won more than we lost, but the payouts were hardly worth noting.  Two consecutive profitable weeks, though, is worth noting.  My NFL picks turned out pretty well, but I didn’t have enough of those winners in my Free Money picks this week.  Hopefully that can change starting this week.

Adam picked up winners on Saturday with TCU (-1) and Arkansas (-36) but suffered losses with Purdue (-1) losing at Rice and Memphis (+15) taking it on the chin against Arkansas State.  Memphis really tripped up AB this week, as their loss ruined his all-Arkansas teaser with the Hogs.  He bounced back on Sunday and Monday, most notably with a New England cover for $100.  The extra wager covered Adam’s losses this week, proving that it’s not how many games you win but how well  you wager.  Adam was smart to double up on New England.

I had a better Saturday than Sunday, a feat that is unlikely to duplicate itself too often.  I managed three wins with Wisconsin (-20.5), Florida (-23.5), and Army (+9) while losing my Penn State wager.  On Sunday I managed to push on two games (Tennessee +2, Carolina +7) and dropped the Tampa play.  My weekly teaser did hit, though, with Minnesota and Philadelphia each covering easily.

The net result?  I picked up $28 while Adam profited $20 on his plays.  To date we are both in the black.  My cash on hand stands at $1,093 – a $93 profit on the season after two weeks.  Adam is still slightly ahead with cash on hand of $1,210 – a $210 profit so far.

The third week of the college season and second week of the NFL promise better games and tighter lines.  That’s usually how it works.  By the middle of October you’ll see Vegas putting out ridiculously accurate lines, increasing the degree of difficulty for degenerate gamblers like us.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Free Money…but Not Much

UA’s Bailey Named SEC OL of the Week

Posted by Adam Butler on September 12, 2011

Arkansas sophomore Guard Alvin Bailey was named SEC offensive lineman of the week for his performance in the Razprbacks 52-3 thumping of New Mexico at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

This is the first time Bailey, a Broken Arrow, OK native, has been so honored by the SEC.

Posted in Sports | 1 Comment »

Arkansas/Alabama Game to Air on CBS

Posted by Adam Butler on September 12, 2011

and fill the coveted 2:30 time slot on Saturday, September 24th. This will be the 3rd consecutive season in which CBS has chosen this game for its de facto “Game of the Week” spot.

Last year the game drew a 5.2 rating and 12 share, which was the highest-rated college football game on CBS in seven years. How’s that for proof that the Hogs’ national relevance is on the rise?

Posted in Sports | Comments Off on Arkansas/Alabama Game to Air on CBS

Not a Strong Start

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 12, 2011

It could be worse.

I hate it when I’m wrong.  It’s rare that I admit that I’m wrong.  I will debate for hours on end, even if I know I’m not correct.  Today I have to admit it, though; I was wrong – at least so far.  That’s about as much as you’ll get out of me in September regarding preseason predictions.

Heading into 2011 I was very high on the Georgia Bulldogs.  I anticipated Mark Richt’s squad would win one of their first two games – and honestly thought they might win both – against Boise St. and South Carolina.  The Dawgs hung with Boise for a half then wilted late.  They showed tremendous heart against South Carolina, but ultimately talent won the day.  As much as I respect Richt, I must admit that coaching plays a huge role in both of those losses.  His kids simply didn’t have what they needed to get the jobs done the past two Saturdays.

Here is what I wrote about the Georgia Bulldogs on September 2:

Georgia – Mark Richt will turn it around this year, and it could be a remarkable turnaround at that.  While I see a path to an unbeaten season, I’m not about to go down that road.  All the Bulldogs road games are ones they can win, but the lack of depth at RB and development of new receivers creates too much doubt for me to make the big, bold prediction.  They’ll probably end up dropping one of those roadies and stumble at home against Mississippi State.  Predicted Finish:  9-3, 6-2

What I seem to have overestimated was the Georgia growth on defense.  I really expected to see some maturation this year under Todd Grantham.  The results have been very similar to what Bulldogs fans have expected the past few years.  Their first two opponents have churned out just short of 800 yards of combined total offense, while scoring an average of 40 points per contest – ranking Georgia 111th in the country in scoring defense.

Offensively the Bulldogs have shown some life.  They put up 436 yards last week against a quality SEC defense and topped 370 yards against Boise St.  The Bulldogs are scoring points.  Like the last few years, though, they are not stopping the other team from getting on the board.

The problem for Georgia – in addition to the obvious – is the schedule looks quite less friendly than it did 2 weeks ago.  They catch a breather with Coastal Carolina this weekend, but then host Mississippi State before back-to-back road games against Tennessee (and their suddenly high-powered offense ) and Vanderbilt (2-0 to start the year for the first time since Jay Cutler).  Sprinkle in a trip to Ole Miss, and Georgia now looks to be in desperation.

I’m not counting the Bulldogs out just yet.  There is a lot of football to be played.  But I must admit that I’m not seeing the type of Georgia team I expected to see.

Auburn is another group I misjudged pretty badly.  Their win over Mississippi State can hardly be described as a shocker, but I fully expected the Bulldogs to go win that football game.  We learned that MSU isn’t quite the team I expected, but more importantly we learned that Auburn has the spirit of a champion.  As much as I dislike the Barners, I must admit that I am very impressed by the work Gene Chizik has produced.  The team is far from as talented as they were last year, but these guys fight.  I still believe they will struggle for bowl eligibility, but a win on the road at Clemson will force a full out mea culpa from yours truly.

The good news – for me at least – is that we’re only 2 weeks into the football season.  September predictions are good for little more than an exercise in futility come December, but no one like to see his predictions get torched so early.  I think Georgia will rally, but winning the SEC East looks like a long shot at this point.  And Auburn is probably still going to struggle to win 7 games this year, but they do have the heart of a champion.  It’s time we all recognize that and start to give Chizik the respect he deserves.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

BlogHawgs Heisman Five Plus One – Week Two

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 12, 2011

Special to BlogHawgs.com from Kris Boyd

We at the +1 readily admit the +1 is pretty boring this week.  The top three did not play and did not move.  Weeden remains at four and the only movement is a RB swap and a QB swap.  Vick Ballard made the list after carrying his team in the fourth quarter and Denard Robinson replaced Luck after almost 500 yards of total offense and a win over an overrated Notre Dame.

1. Robert Griffin, III, QB, Baylor

2. Landry Jones, QB, OU

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State

4. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State Weeden once again put up great stats, but is going to have to watch that whole throwing-the-ball-to-the-other-team thing.

5. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan The +1 initially was going to leave Laces off the list, but he replaced Andrew Luck after looking at his stats and realizing Michigan would not have come close to beating Notre Dame without him.  Denard will fall faster than USC East in October if he continues to throw balls up for grabs, though.  His receivers made some great plays, but Shoelace could have easily had seven interceptions, instead of three, against a defense that is not that good.

+1. Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State Ballard is averaging almost 10 yards a carry and looked amazing against Auburn.  Miss State lost the game, but I’ll place that blame on Coach Mullen.  Ballard will get plenty of chances to continue to prove himself against some very strong SEC defenses.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Spirit, Mullen Both Confused on Saturday

Posted by Adam Butler on September 12, 2011

Spirit the Eagle, Auburn’s flying mascot (despite the fact they’re the Tigers), looks like he had a little fun at the tailgate according to this video.

Perhaps he and Dan Mullen tossed back a few toddies.  Given Spirit’s flight pattern and Mullen’s two-minute drill coaching, it certainly looks like they were drinking from the same cup.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

BlogHawgs Razorback Rewind–Week 2

Posted by Adam Butler on September 12, 2011

Second verse, same as the first. Arkansas did the expected in Week 2 and treated Los Lobos like Little Penny.  Here are our thoughts on Arkansas 52-3 victory over New Mexico after a day of reflection.

What We Saw in Week 2

The “Razorbacks Remember” tributes to the victims of 9/11 were tremendous. Whether it was the national anthem, fly over, the color coordination of the fans, the red, white and blue logos on the field and Hogs’ helmets, or the over-the-air salutes, they got it right. It was all done very well.

This just in: Arkansas’ wide receivers are fast. Very fast. Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Cobi Hamilton (and you can throw Marquel Wade into the mix, too) have more speed than a handful of NFL teams’ wide receivers. It shows when UA QB Tyler Tyler Wilson gets them the ball in space. They–and the weak opponents–are the main reasons Arkansas has scored 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1928.

–Wilson had a few bumps along the way, literally and figuratively. He again showed better touch on short passes than his predecessor, New England Patriot, Ryan Mallett. This led to plenty of yards after catch for his speed burner wideouts. But, Wilson also struggled some against zones, forcing things at times in the Red Zone, and failing to get the ball out of his hands quickly on another occasion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is value to learning from your mistakes and correcting them mid-game. As a QB, you aren’t always going to have your “A” game, but there a plenty of times you can win as long as you settle down and utilize the weapons at your disposal.

–For the second consecutive week, Wilson risked his health and safety at the goalline. Wilson took a hit and was rewarded with a TD just before half, but it also helped him punch an early ticket to the sidelines with concussion-like symptoms. Brandon Mitchell came in and moved the team, but we would like to see Wilson pick his spots a little better. There is a reason he is the starter and, for now, Mitchell is just the capable backup that adds a different dimension to the offense.

–Wilson wasn’t the only Hog to test the frayed nerves of Arkansas’ most anxious fans. Defensive end Jake Bequette went down in the 1st quarter with a leg injury, which wass later diagnosed as a strained hamstring. He returned to the sideline and did not have the look of a guy who expected to miss significant playing time, if any. Jarius Wright also tweaked his knee after again proving to be one of Wilson’s favorite targets. None of the three injuries appear to be serious and that is good news as Arkansas eyes a showdown with Alabama in a few weeks.

–Mitchell showed the explosiveness that had impressed coaches in camp, but as of yet, had not been on full display under the big lights. He was quick and decisive in the passing game, showed off a very strong arm and was a load on the run. Don’t get me wrong–there shouldn’t be, and isn’t–a quarterback controversy. But, just as we saw last year, the backup has to be ready at a moment’s notice, particularly if you have real title aspirations.

What We Didn’t See in Week 2

–The real Greg Childs. Numerous reports from  fall camp revealed that Childs is 100% physically after rehabbing from season-ending knee surgery last year. But, Childs clearly isn’t all the way back mentally. By my count, he had 3 passes targeted to him, and he looked like he wanted no part of them, coming out of his cuts timidly, and with his eyes on the approaching defenders. The old Childs would have snagged the passes, looked those guys up, and punished them.

While Arkansas, as a team, can probably overcome sub par numbers from Childs, I yearn to see him get back to his old form because Childs is a prototypical NFL wide receiver, and I would hate to see a career wasted because of the fateful tearing of his patella tendon. Look for Arkansas to get him the ball early next week in the hopes of getting his mind right heading into the showdown in Alabama.

What You May Not Have Seen in Week 2

–True freshman cornerback Tevin Mitchel (no typo, there) played early and often, and looks to have the athleticism and confidence to contribute meaningful SEC minutes this season.

–Senior defensive end Tenarius “Tank” Wright lived up to his nickname, as he punished UNM’s kicker on a fake field goal he stonewalled, and he generally had a nasty disposition all night. That’s a good thing. There will be no free lunch in the SEC and if Arkansas wants to continue to build as a program, it needs to play  like the biggest, baddest bully on the block–without picking up dumb personal fouls.

–We have an increasingly ridiculous tailgating situation at War Memorial Stadium. Yes, the tailgating is a lot of fun and the game atmosphere typically benefits. But, something has to be done about the guys who get too far into their cups. I saw one guy who had more “almost fights” than UNM had points. To say he was acting like a fool isn’t fair to fools. And, I am pretty sure “Rack ’em Willie”(NSFW) hung out near our vehicles for the entire second half There is alwayss going to be some riff raff, but I just don’t want to see any Bryan Stowe incidents at Hog games.

What We Hope to See in Week 3

–The running game needs to continue to improve. But for a fumble, Ronnie Wingo Jr. did just that. He had 73 yards on 12 carries and was, for the most part, quick, and decisive. Weakside offensive tackle Jason Peacock seemed to improve from Week 1 to Week 2 and will be worth watching next week to see if he grabs playing time ahead of Week 1 freshman Mitch Smothers.

–I want the old Greg Childs back. He is a beast, when he’s locked in. He just needs to remember that.

–Arkansas needs to take care of business, early. Troy is a step above the competition to date, and the Hogs don’t need to give them any reason to believe they can leave Fayetteville with a huge upset. And, the Razorbacks need to be able to get their starters some action but keep them healthy for the SEC opener on September 24th.

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Select 17 – Week 3

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 12, 2011

Not a lot of movement in this week’s poll.  The chalk walked this past weekend, although a few had to pull out minor miracles to get it done.  Ohio State looks very fragile, Mississippi State showed it is not quite ready for prime time, and Arkansas flexed against a weak opponent for the 2nd straight week.  Week Three presents a few marquee games, notably Florida State v. Oklahoma.  The conference schedules are about to get into full swing over the next 2 weeks, and that means this is the last week we’ll see a Select 17 with this little movement.

Rank Team Votes LW
1 Oklahoma (6) 147 1
2 Alabama (2) 144 2
3 LSU (1) 133 3
4 Stanford 115 4
5 Wisconsin 107 6
6 Boise St 106 5
7 Florida St. 97 7
8 Arkansas 91 8
9 Texas A&M 75 9
10 Nebraska 73 10
11 Oklahoma St. 60 11
12 Virginia Tech 59 12
13 South Carolina 53 14
14 Oregon 41 13
15 Michigan St. 28 16
16 Florida 22 NR
17 Ohio St. 10 17

Others Receiving Votes:  West Virginia 6, Baylor 5, Arizona St. 2, South Florida 2, Auburn 1

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Sunday Starter

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 11, 2011

Love Ya Blue

Fantasy Football.  Eliminator Pools.  Gambling.  The NFL means something different to everyone.  To me, it means all those things in addition to the flood of memories of childhood watching my Houston Oilers every Sunday afternoon.  The Oilers are gone, and the Texans have taken their place.  It will be a fun year watching Houston try to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.  I also look forward to winning both fantasy leagues, my eliminator pool, and – most importantly – lots of money.

You can check our Free Money column from this week to see the NFL plays I made early in the week.  On Sundays I’ll give you my picks for all the games of the week in addition to my Pick 5 parlay.  The Pick 5 are the games I’m tracking each Sunday in hopes of taking other people’s money.  I’ll note those games with an asterisk (*) in my overall picks for the weekend.

The Picks:

*CINCINNATI (+6.5) at Cleveland – One of the critical rules for wagering is this: Avoid the Obvious Game.  Vegas is begging you to take Cleveland.  Cincy is terrible, Cleveland is on the way up, and this is going to be played on the shores of Lake Erie.  The Bengals have a solid-enough running game and defense, though, to hang around in this rivalry game.  I’ll take the points. Brown 20, Bengals 14

*Detroit at TAMPA BAY (-1.5) – Almost every commentator says “Watch out for the Lions in 2011,” while simultaneously predicted a Tampa regression.  Both of those statements are true, but this smells like another Obvious Game.  Tamps is traditionally hard to beat at home, and Detroit is hardly Green Bay.  Give me the home team, please.  Buccaneers 21, Lions 17

*CAROLINA (+7.5) at Arizona – Let me be very clear:  I will not be rooting for Cam Newton.  I will be rooting for him to make me some money today, though.  The Panthers will probably be a tad better than most believe if for no other reason than a roster that has stayed largely intact.  Arizona is the better team and will probably win, but let’s not overstate their relative greatness.  It’s still Arizona.  Cardinals 31, Panthers 27

*MINNESOTA (+9.5) at San Diego – It’s like Vegas forgot three things when setting this line:  1) Norv Turner is still the head coach in San Diego, 2) The Chargers are notoriously slow starters, and 3) Adrian Peterson rushed for almost 300 yards the last time these two teams played.  Upset special: Vikings 41, Chargers 27

*Oakland at DENVER (-3.5) – Does anyone else feel like Denver is horribly undervalued this year?  I get the feeling Josh McDaniels may have been a worse coach than Mike Singletary.  Enter John Fox who took Carolina to a Super Bowl with Jake Delhomme as his quarterback.  Fox is a very good coach, and Denver is a tough place to play.  Also, Jason Campbell is the Oakland starting QB.  Hard to put my money there. Broncos 28, Raiders 20

Pittsburgh at BALTIMORE (-1) – I’ve heard so much about how great the Steelers will be in 2011 and how weak the Ravens will be (relative to 2010), I’m a bit nervous.  But this is a rivalry dominated by the home teams, and I’m sticking with my Ravens Super Bowl pick.  A loss this week all but guarantees the Ravens will play as a Wild Card team on the opening weekend of the playoffs.  Amazing statement for Week 1, but it’s probably true.  Ravens 27, Steelers 24

ATLANTA (-1) at Chicago – I struggled with this one, but ultimately it came down to Matt Ryan v. Jay Cuttler.  When faced with that choice, it became much easier.  Both teams benefited from great luck in 2010, but the Falcons are a superior team.  I’m looking forward to watching that offense. Falcons 31, Bears 23

Buffalo at KANSAS CITY (-5) – What an awful game.  It’s like the NFL actively hates Kansas City and Buffalo.  How can either franchise or fan base get excited about this game, even on opening weekend?  I’ll take the slightly less awful team.  (I do this knowing that I have guaranteed this to be the most exciting game of the day.) Chiefs 50, Bills 43

Indianapolis at HOUSTON (-9) – Without Payton Manning in the lineup, it is impossible to know exactly how the Colts will react.  What we do know is that Houston has a dynamic offense and an significantly upgraded defense.  It’s at home, and Houston is treating it like a playoff game.  I like it.  Texans 38, Colts 21

PHILADELPHIA (-3.5) at St. Louis – This line opened at Philly -5.5 and has moved two whole points.  That’s a remarkable shift.  I know NFL home dogs are usually free money, but let’s not overvalue an improved Rams team.  I like St. Louis and definitely give them a chance to win their weak division.  But Philadelphia is an excellent team.  If I were in Vegas today, I’d be sitting at the betting window right up to kickoff waiting to see if I could get a more favorable spread and moneyline.  Free money.  Eagles 35, Rams 17

TENNESSEE (+2) at Jacksonville – I have no faith in either team over the course of the season, but I do like the Tennessee running attack.  The Jags signaled that they are a team in transition this year with the release of their starting quarterback, David Garrard, just days before the season started.  Titans 17, Jaguars 14

NY Giants at WASHINGTON (+2.5) – I’m kicking myself for not putting this game into my Pick 5 or Free Money picks this week.  I know Washington is a team that will struggle, but the Giants have serious problems.  They lost FIVE players in preseason camp that were penciled in as starters or key backups, including their top draft choice (cornerback Prince Amukamara) and defensive anchor (end Osi Umenyiora).  The Skins may be ugly to watch, but they’re healthy.  Redskins 24, Giants 14

Seattle at SAN FRANCISCO (-5.5) – Both of these teams will struggle this year, but I like where San Francisco is headed.  Jim Harbaugh is going to be a very successful coach.  I’m worried about wagering on a team with Alex Smith as its quarterback; I’m less worried given that the opposing team is led by Tarvaris Jackson.  49ers 20, Seahawks 14

DALLAS (+6) at NY Jets – I was leaning Jets until I saw this line move two points in the past three days.  The Jets get overvalued because they play in New York and have dynamic personalities.  They have an amazing football team – and I love Rex Ryan – but Dallas has team that really impresses me this year.  Most impressive? You haven’t had many headlines coming out of north Texas this preseason.  Cowboys 27, Jets 20

NEW ENGLAND (-7) at Miami – The Patriots have struggled in early season Miami games historically, but the NFL did the Patriots a solid this season with the schedule.  It’s a night game.  The heat will be tempered some, which always helps a cold climate team in the early season.  I want to take Miami, but it seems like the Pats are the smart play.  Patriots 32, Dolphins 17

Late Fantasy Injury News:  Arian Foster is likely to sit this week against the Colts.  If you have Ben Tate, get him in your lineups this morning.

Late Fantasy Warning:  Marshawn Lynch (RB, Seattle) is owned in 100% of ESPN.com fantasy leagues.  He has never scored a TD against San Francisco, their opponent today.

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Gameday

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 10, 2011

Good Morning and a Hearty Wooooooooooo, Pig Sooie

The Hogs take on New Mexico this evening at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.  Kickoff is set for 6:05pm and will be televised on ESPNU.  For details today’s 9/11 Tribute at War Memorial – including the Red, White, and Blue Out seating chart, you can check here.

As for the game itself, no one expects this one to be close at all.  New Mexico is completely out-manned on both sides of the ball, both on the field and in the coaching booths.  The Lobos offensive line leaks like a sieve, the defense does not have the depth needed to challenge a national power, and the special teams do not appear to be very special.  Meanwhile Arkansas looked as dominant as I can recall in a season opener last week, pushing around an inferior opponent like you expect an SEC title contender to do.  Look for the Hogs to run a similar gameplan this week, strengthening their base offense and defense while adding a few new wrinkles.  However do not expect a fully expanded playbook.  There’s no reason to give Alabama and Nick Saban anything to study that they might see in 2 weeks.

BlogHawgs Prediction:  Arkansas 55, New Mexico 10

What Others Are Saying

ESPN.com SEC Bloggers

Edward Aschoff:Tyler Wilson was good, but not great in his starting debut last week. The Razorbacks didn’t need him to be great, but he should improve this week and spread the ball around even more. … Arkansas 44, New Mexico 7

Chris Low: The Hogs put a couple of special teams touchdowns on the board last week in the opener thanks to Joe Adams’ punt return prowess. Don’t be surprised if the defense gets into the act this Saturday in a second straight rout for the Hogs. … Arkansas 48, New Mexico 10

Bruce Feldman, CBSSPorts.com

Arkansas 49, New Mexico 6: Tyler Wilson and his stud WRs (Jarius Wright and Joe Adams and crew) are too good for the Lobos, and the Hogs’ D will feast on a New Mexico offense that surrendered 10 sacks in last week’s loss to CSU.

College Football News

What Will Happen: Target practice. Arkansas should be able to do whatever it wants offensively, and while New Mexico will provide more of a defensive speed bump than Missouri State, this could be over after about ten minutes.

CFN Prediction: Arkansas 45 … New Mexico 6

Feel free to post your predictions, thoughts, and reactions to all of college football today.

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