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About MicktheGreat

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  • Birthday 11/26/1983

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  1. MicktheGreat

    O line changes and their impacts

    Titans The Titans are an interesting team to watch in terms of OL for a number of reasons: (1) HC Mike Mularkey has been adamant about the team playing a run-first, smash-mouth form of football; (2) New GM Jon Robinson has made several offseason moves to that effect, including acquiring Murray, Henry, Conklin, Jones, etc. this offseason; & (3) Young QB Marcus Mariota looked the part of a franchise-calibur QB last season despite lacking experience and playing behind a porous OL with questionable receiving talent. The Titans' OL has been mostly disastrous the last few seasons because of retirement (e.g. stalwart Michael Roos), striking out on key FA additions (e.g. Steve Hutchinson, Andy Levitre, & Michael Oher), lackluster drafting (e.g. Jeremiah Poutasi, Brian Schwenke, and, to a lesser extent, Chance Warmack), and LOTS of injuries. This season, the big additions up-front are C Ben Jones and RT Jack Conklin. Jones is a veteran from the rival Texans, who is a quirky character but is a savvy, experienced player -- which we haven't really had at the center position since the retirement of Kevin Mawae many seasons ago. The rookie Conklin doesn't have top-flight athletic abilities but plays with a nasty demeanor and is a road-grader type OT -- which we haven't had since a healthy David Stewart. Barring injuries, both of these players will be starters on day one at their respective positions. A smaller free-agency move was re-signing veteran OG/OT Byron Bell. Bell played at both LG and RT last season for us; and while he wasn't very good at RT (he's definitely a plodder and lacks the foot-speed to keep up with speed rushers), he's better at the OG spot where he'll be asked to go one-on-one with interior DL and/or block in-tandem with his linemates. Another move that this team makes that might go under some radars is the drafting of OG Sebastian Tretola, who is a big bruiser of a lineman from the OL and who demonstrates a very mean, nasty demeanor in the run-game. His play style seems like a perfect match for the power-run scheme that Mularkey wants to execute. In terms of some of the other spots, it'll be interesting to see just how OG Chance Warmack responds after the team didn't pick-up his 5th year option. He certainly hasn't lived up to his #10 draft pick; but, he's also been playing between turnstiles at both center and right-tackle for the past several years, so it's a little uncertain whether his average/mediocre play has been the result of his own (lackluster) work or the very poor play of those around him. And it'll also be interesting to see what happens with LT Taylor Lewan, who has a ton of talent but who's been pretty inconsistent and whose play hasn't always matched his outspoken brashness. Right now, I think that 4/5 spots are pretty much set with Lewan (LT), Jones ©, Warmack (RG), & Conklin (RT). The only spot that I think is still TBD is that LG spot, where I expect we'll see a competition between Bell, Poutasi, Tretola, and maybe even Quentin Spain. Right now, I expect that the veteran Bell is probably the front-runner at that LG spot, though it will be interesting to see if Poutasi has improved over last season's disastrous performance, since he played out-of-position at RT for much of the time and will undoubtedly benefit from moving back inside. I see Tretola as more of a backup RG this season with the potential to start next season at either OG spots, but he could surprise and seize the starting LG job this season. An OL of Lewan, Bell, Jones, Warmack, and Conklin -- in addition to TE Delanie Walker, who is a superb blocking TE -- should be able to open holes in the run game for the combination of DeMarco Murray & Derrick Henry. The question will be whether the Titans DEF and ST can keep them in the game so that they don't have to abandon that run-first strategy too early each week. Just my $.02...
  2. MicktheGreat

    Grade your teams draft - 2012

    TITANS 1.20 - WR Kendall Wright (Baylor) Wright was a bit of shocker pick when we took him in the 1st Round. He was graded to go there, but most fans thought we had bigger needs than WR at that pick. Overall, he had a solid rookie campaign, and he looked really good in his second year, racking up some nice yardage numbers (even if the TDs continue to evade him). Last year, he was inconsistent, but he also dealt with a ludicrous turnstile of QBs because of injuries. He's very quick but kinda, oddly clumsy -- as I've never seen anyone slip and fall as much as this guy after making a catch. Probably not a true #1 WR in this league but more than capable of being a solid contributor as a #2 WR. GRADE: "B" 2.20 - OLB/ILB Zach Brown (North Carolina) Brown is one of the hardest picks to grade. He looked fantastic in his rookie year, where he was flying all over the place, causing turnovers, putting pressure on the QB, making some nice tackles, etc. In his second year, however, he really regressed -- to the point that he got benched toward the end of the season and was outspoken in his critiques of the coaching staff. Last year, he got moved to ILB in Norton's 3-4 DEF and looked like he might be pretty good in that spot until his early season injury. If he can come back healthy and motivated, he's got the speed/talent to be a difference maker in the LB core. GRADE: "C+" 3.19 - DL Mike Martin (Michigan) Martin is also difficult to grade. He's one of the strongest players on the team and one of the strongest players in the NFL, if I'm remembering right. But that's not really translated into any big splash plays. In fact, he seems to have difficulty getting onto the field for whatever reason. I don't blame him too much because this team is notorious for under-playing good DL (see: Karl Klug). However, at some point, you have to wonder why his pure athletic talent and strength haven't resulted in more playing time -- especially since we were so bad against the run last year. Potential, but this is a make-or-break year for him. GRADE: "C-" 4.20 - CB Coty Sensabaugh (Clemson) Sensabaugh was also banged up last season. However, he played well in the two preceding seasons as our nickel CB. He's not great at anything, but he's solid at everything. Not big or fast enough to line-up on the outside as a #1/#2 CB, but he can hold his on in the slot -- especially if the DL and OLBs are getting pressure. Nothing special but a contributor, and in the NFL today, you can't have too many decent/good CBs. GRADE: "C+" 5.10 - TE Taylor Thompson (Southern Methodist) It was at this point in the draft that the 2012 draft-strategy became obvious: Draft Freaks. Zach Brown is freakishly fast for an OLB; Mike Martin is freakishly strong; and Taylor Thompson has the measurables to be a really, really difficult matchup for opposing DEFs. This was a wait-and-see type pick because he hadn't played TE since high school. (He played DE in college.) But he's got decent hands and has developed into a truly dominating blocker. I'd like to see him continue to develop his route-running and play with more consistency in the passing-game. Last offseason, he was doing really well apparently and fans were expecting him to make a jump. But then he got hurt and dealt with nagging injuries all season long, which limited his progression. This is another guy who is facing a make-or-break year this season. GRADE: "C-" 6.20 - FS/SS Markelle Martin (Oklahoma State) Martin was a guy who was very highly regarded but then got hurt and saw his draft-stock plummet as a result. If I'm remembering correctly, at one point in the process, he was predicted to be a 2nd-3rd Round guy. So, at the time, this seemed like a very good value pick for the Titans. But he spent his first season on the IR, I think. And he never distinguished himself when he returned. No longer on the team. GRADE: "F" 7.04 - DE Scott Solomon (Rice) Kind of a DE/OLB tweener. At the time that we drafted him, we were a full-blown 4-3 team so it was sort of an odd pick. We did need additional help with the pass-rush; but most thought that we'd address it much earlier than this in the draft. Solomon spent a year on-and-off the PS, I believe, and was eventually cut. Never really made any impact here. GRADE: "F" Overall, this was a very average draft for the Titans. No players that jump off the page in terms of contribution -- though the combo of Wright, Brown, and Sensabaugh have been productive when healthy. And Martin and Thompson both have potential -- though they're both likely on the hot seat this season, assuming that they even make the team. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Wright and Brown. Again, I think Wright's talented and could be a 900-1100 yard guy, if we have stability at the QB spot -- which we haven't had in several seasons. Brown has to return from injury and show that he still has the acceleration, coverage-ability, and playmaking skills that he demonstrated in his rookie season. Right now, this draft was not as good as our 2011 draft but better than our 2013 draft.
  3. MicktheGreat

    Titans RB's

    This is unfortunately incorrect on several levels. First, the Titans OL is certainly NOT dominant, or, at least, they haven't looked dominant thus far against competitions (i.e. last season, this preseason, and week one against the Chiefs). Although the Titans have invested quite a bit in re-tooling the OL, they've yet to really gel as a unit and, as such, they haven't performed up to expectations yet. Even the "big names" like Levitre and Warmack have struggled. (Levitre got absolutely blown up a few times last week, and Warmack, while improving, also gets beat semi-regularly. They aren't even remotely close to the "best one-two OG punch" in the NFL.) Schwenke and Oher also struggle with consistency. Roos is still, by far, our best and most consistent OL -- though he's clearly lost a step (or two) from his younger days, when he was one of the most underrated and most dominant left OTs in the game. Lewan showed flashes in the preseason but also displayed the temper that is his recurring problem by earning some personal foul penalties, which will need to be cleaned up. However, for whatever reason, the popular sentiment -- propagated by outlets like ESPN -- is that the Titans have this fantastic OL. It's just not true. They are playing OK but aren't great by any stretch of the imagination. Fortunately, they still have the rest of the season to pull it together, and I'm optimistic that they can be a top 5 OL by the end (though they definitely aren't right now). This OL is young and talented and anything but beastly. Second, Shonn Greene has played well this preseason and played well in week one as well. Do I expect Greene to run for 1,000 yards? Nope. Do I expect him to stay healthy all season? Nope. But right now, he's exactly what the coaching staff wants: A guy who will take what the DEF gives him and consistently gain 3-5 yards/carry. In that sense, he's the anti-Chris Johnson, who, in his final few seasons in Tennessee, would press too much and try to go for the big run rather than just taking the easy yards. (This, in turn, got the Titans offense into a lot of 2nd-and-9, 3rd-and-7 type situations -- which puts a lot of pressure on a young QB to perform.) Greene, on the other hand, has thus far shown that he'll pick the right hole and get the sure gain, putting Locker in more 2nd-and-6, 3rd-and-3 type situations, which this offense is more than capable of capitalizing on. Again, it's not an exciting run-strategy because it's unlikely that Greene breaks off any 20+ yarders; however, it's helping the offense to stay on the field longer and giving the defense more rest. Basically, Greene has made the Titans OL look good this preseason and in week one (and not the other way around), as crazy as it may sound to FFers. Lastly, I agree that Sankey is a talented RB; and, as I said in another post, I think he's capable of being a "franchise" type RB for the Titans for the next 7-8 years, if he stays healthy. Is he the RB to own? Well...I think it depends on your league format. If you're in a re-draft league, you may be waiting for awhile. As long as Greene is churning out 4-5 yards/carry, there's little-to-no reason for the coaching staff to replace him because, as I've said, he fits what the Titans want to do in taking pressure off Locker. (I do think that Sankey will be getting more carries as the season progresses and will likely be the "lead guy" by year's end, though I wouldn't be surprised if, even then, it's something like a 60/30/10 split between Sankey, Greene, and McCluster.) If you're in a keeper league, then yes...Sankey is your guy. Of course, everything is contingent on who stays healthy and for how long. Again...I'm as surprised as anyone that Greene is playing as well as he's playing, as I expected Sankey to get the lion's share of the carries from an early stage, but I'm not sure that that's how it's going to work out now. (Here's a link to a recap of the Titans-Chiefs game by one of the smarter Titans online-analysts out there: http://www.musiccitymiracles.com/2014/9/11/6132925/titans-chiefs-film-review-the-hype-is-real) Basically...I don't mean to pick on your post. I just wanted to clarify some things, as the Titans are a small-market team that most fans only get to watch once a year (or in limited and, therefore, misleading doses on "Red Zone"). Furthermore, they often get misrepresented in the media by "experts" who, I'm sure, watch even less of them than the casual fan. (Seriously...the Titans were predicted by most "experts" as one of the very worst teams in the league this year, despite the fact that they were 7-9 last season and improved dramatically at the coaching positions and improved at every offensive/defensive position, except #2 CB. That was enough to tell me that most people just didn't watch this team play last year.) Long story short...the Titans OL has potential but is NOT great at this stage, and Greene (for all his warts) is actually playing well as a "fit" for this offense.
  4. MicktheGreat

    Titans RB's

    I liked the Sankey pick then, and I still like it. (I'd say that he looked better than "ok" in the preseason, but I guess it's a matter of perspective.) As far as the draft goes, I thought Sankey was the safest RB pick overall -- better hands than Hyde, bigger than Freeman or Mason, without the off-the-field baggage of Hill, etc. He seems like the kind of player that will be a very good contributor for the Titans for 7-8 years, assuming that he stays healthy. He likely won't have the highs of CJ's 2000 yard campaign or Eddie in his prime, but he probably won't have the lows of those two either. At first, while I liked the Sankey pick, I was a bit worried that we were passing on DL talent; however, I think we got a good one in DaQuan Jones later, a guy who can play both DE and DT in Horton's scheme. And I think we have enough pass-rushers to get pressure with Horton's playcalling, though I wish that Akeem Ayers would show some signs of life (seriously...what happened to that guy?). The only real DEF position that I'm worried about is #2 CB and maybe ILB depth after Brown's injury. Other than that, I think this is a much-improved team from top to bottom.
  5. MicktheGreat

    Titans RB's

    Well...count me as a Titans fan who has been impressed by Sankey's performance this offseason and preseason. (He had arguably one of the most exciting plays during the entire preseason, when he caught a pass from Whitehurst during a broken-play against the Packers and turned it into a great pickup.) Sankey played with the backup unit for the entire preseason because he missed a good chunk of the offseason due to NFL rules about his eligibility -- i.e. he couldn't start practicing with the team until after his graduation and, since UW is on the quarter system, his school-year didn't end until after many of his fellow rookies. Anyway...I believe that Sankey definitely has the skills and potential to be a franchise RB for the Titans, and I think he'll get more and more carries as the year progresses and as he proves that he can keep Locker upright. (Note: I'm not a Sankey owner in FF, just a Titans fan.) But, from the coaches' perspective, there's no real rush here because Greene has been playing pretty well and has provided consistent -- albeit unspectacular -- running during the preseason. McCluster's going to get some carries too in Whisenhunt's system. (I don't think Leon Washington will continue to get carries going forward; and, to be honest, I was totally surprised that he got carries in the opener, as he's primarily our KR.)
  6. MicktheGreat

    D.Carr is legit

    I was wondering about this too. James Jones is easily the most "accomplished" of the Raiders' wideouts, and they did spend a good deal of money to sign him this offseason. However, both Denarius Moore and Rod Streater are extremely talented; and, from what I've read, Moore seems to have really connected with Carr during the preseason workouts and games (probably because both Carr and Moore were mostly working with the 2nd teamers). I know that the Raiders' offense is unlikely to be prolific, and they'll probably lean on the running game alot with MJD, McFadden, Murray, and Reece. But still...any team's #1 WR is worthy of a stash at the bottom of a FF roster, in my opinion. Any Raiders' fans have an opinion on which WR is best to own???
  7. MicktheGreat

    is j. stewart worth a pick up?

    I think Stewart is a sneaky stash at the bottom of a roster. He's apparently "healthy" (as healthy as Stewart can be) for the first time in two seasons, and he looked pretty good in the preseason. With the Panthers' questionable receiving options, I could see them running the ball quite a bit this year; and, if he stays healthy, I could envision Stewart eventually supplanting DeAngelo as the main RB. That said, I wouldn't expect many TD opportunities for him around the goalline because of Newton and Tolbert. Personally, I'd rather have Stewart than Bryce Brown. I like Brown as a playmaker, but I don't like his current situation. To me, he's the clear-cut #3 guy behind Spiller and Jackson, and I don't think that Bills offense is nearly good enough to support that many runners. Just my $.02...
  8. MicktheGreat

    FYI about Bishop Sankey

    For what it's worth, Sankey missed most/all of OTAs because of his University of Washington school schedule. (UW is on the "quarter-system," which means that Spring quarter goes later in the year than your typical Spring semester.) Anyway...because of that, Sankey has had less practice time with the team than the vets and the other rookies on the roster. This sort of school schedule stuff comes up from time to time, mostly with players from Big 10 and Pac 12 teams, if I'm remembering correctly, as I think they're the conferences that are on the quarter system (at least with some of the schools). When all is said and done, I'd be absolutely shocked if Sankey doesn't end up with the lion's share of carries by Week 3 or so. I do think that they'll ease him in a little bit. I also think that Greene will get more carries this year than last year, if he's healthy; and McCluster will also get some touches. But Sankey is ultimately the RB that I'd want to own here.
  9. MicktheGreat

    Realistic expectations for Bishop Sankey are?

    As someone who follows the Titans, I think Sankey is in a very good position to be a very good #2 FF RB when all is said and done. (I think he'll have good yardage numbers, but I'm not sure if the TDs will consistently be there.) As others have already mentioned, it's about talent and opportunity. Sankey is a good runner with excellent vision, who can truly contribute consistently in the passing game as well -- unlike CJ, who was, as Titans fans will tell you, very inconsistent in his receiving abilities to the point that the coaching staff didn't trust him very much in that regard by the end of his time here. Furthermore, Sankey is running behind an OL that's been really re-stocked over the past two seasons and will be playing for a coach who has shown a willingness to run the ball and an ability to get the best out of this sort of RB. (After all, Ken Whisenhunt helped to revitalize Ryan Mathews's career last season.) Thus far, in training camp, Sankey has looked very impressive and, by all estimates, he plays even better with the pads on. As far as McCluster goes, he's also been very impressive in camp -- especially in the pre-pad practices -- and has been noticeably quicker/faster than the other players. It's clear that the coaches want to take advantage of that quickness and his position flexibility to create mismatches against opposing DEFs. I think that the comparisons to Danny Woodhead are very apt here, though it remains to be seen if McCluster's production will equal that of Woodhead's from last year. (In terms of talent, I think McCluster is the better player of the two, which, of course, doesn't always translate into better results.) Greene has been dealing with some lingering knee injuries from last year and actually had some minor surgery this offseason to correct stuff even further. I don't think that will really set him back too much; however, he will have to show the coaches that he can contribute in certain circumstances -- particularly as someone near the goalline and in certain "close-out" situations late in games. Right now, he's reportedly about 5-10 pounds overweight, but that's not a huge thing at this stage in the offseason. All that said, I'd be shocked if he didn't have an uptick in carries this season, considering how much the team is paying him. (Basically, I think he'll get about 5-8 carries/game most weeks.) In terms of stats, I'd say... Sankey: 275 carries / 1200 rushing / 35 receptions / 280 receiving / 6 TDs Greene: 100 carries / 375 rushing / 10 receptions / 35 receiving / 4 TDs McCluster: 100 carries / 415 rushing / 60 receptions / 520 receiving / 3 TDs Obviously, these are just estimates. As you see, I fully expect Sankey to do very well in his role as the lead-back. I think Greene will see increased carries in this season, given his paycheck and his (hopefully) better health during the season. I think McCluster will put up comparable, but slightly lesser, numbers than Woodhead in a similar role. If last season was any indication, this would put the Titans right around the top 10 in the NFL in terms of both carries/game and in terms of yards/game (especially when you factor in that Jake Locker will have some rushing attempts/yards as well). That seems about right for Whisenhunt's offense from last season with the Chargers (where they were a top 10ish rushing team) and given the front-office's commitment to fixing the OL. Overall, I think both Sankey & McCluster are definitely worth owning in most FF formats, while Greene isn't worth owning unless you need an emergency RB for one week who might get you a TD. Just my $.02...
  10. MicktheGreat

    Grade your teams draft - 2011

    TITANS 1.08 QB Jake Locker (WASHINGTON): While Locker displayed potential in his first two seasons, it was unclear how he would perform last season as the full-time starter. However, he began the season by playing at a very high level before getting injured in the Jets game by a late (and somewhat dirty) hit. While he was able to return a few weeks later, his play wasn't the same after that. He's talented enough to be a starting QB, and his intangibles are great. The big ??? is whether he can stay healthy. GRADE: B- 2.07 OLB Akeem Ayers (UCLA): Ayers broke onto the scene by playing well and showing potential as a pass-rusher from the LB spot. Last season, he wasn't nearly as explosive and didn't really make any splash plays; however, he's a solid starter and consistent contributor. It'll be interesting to see how new DC Horton uses his skills and whether he returns to his pass-rushing ways this year. GRADE: B 3.13 DT Jurrell Casey (USC): This was the Titans best pick in the 2011 draft by a mile. Though Casey suffered through some nagging, lingering injuries during his second season, he played out of his mind last year and consistently dominated opposing OLs throughout the entire season. He's easily the best DL that the Titans have had since Albert Haynesworth and is arguably the best DT in the NFL. (He's certainly a top 3-5 DT.) GRADE: A+ 4.12 MLB Colin McCarthy (Miami): McCarthy began his career as a backup; however, he got significant playing time due to injuries to other LBs and showed a knack for making plays, forcing turnovers, etc. He entered the second season with very high expectations. But that was soon derailed by recurring injuries, which also carried over to last season. When he did play last season, he didn't flash the same playmaking ability that he did as a rookie. His knock in college -- and the reason he fell as far as he did in the draft -- was that he was injury-prone and that's proven true thus far in his NFL career as well. GRADE: C 4.33 RB Jamie Harper (Clemson): This was a curious pick in the draft, as most "experts" had Harper going several rounds later than when the Titans took him. Harper had good size and measurables; however, he didn't play like a big RB but, rather, tiptoed around. There was some hope that he would be a goal-line and short-yardage compliment to Chris Johnson but that didn't work out at all. Busted and no longer with the team. GRADE: F 5.11 DT Karl Klug (Iowa): Klug is a tad undersized as a DT, and he's not great against the run. However, he's shown a true penchant for pressuring opposing QBs, and his quickness makes him a tough matchup for interior OLs. He's the sort of player that just "makes plays" when given the opportunity; but, for whatever reason, he could never get much playing time under the last coaching regime. It remains to be seen whether he'll make the team this year and how he'll contribute in the Horton's 3-4 DEF, where he'll likely move to DE. Still, a good pick at this point in the draft with potential to put up stats when given the opportunity. GRADE: B- 6.10 OT Byron Stingily (Louisville): Stingily has good size; and, although he was raw coming out of college, he had potential to develop into either a RT or a LT in the right system and with the right coaching. He's been a solid backup thus far and played well last season in limited duty. In fact, he'll likely be given every opportunity to compete with newcomer Michael Oher for the RT spot, as Oher's contract is essentially structured like a one-year tryout deal. At the very least, Stingily is a good backup and a very good pick this late in the draft. GRADE: C+ 7.09 DT Zach Clayton (Auburn): Clayton played next to Nick Fairley on a very good Auburn DEF. At the time, the Titans had just hired one of Auburn's coaches as their DL coach, and he was very high on Clayton's potential as an inside pass-rushing presence. Clayton hung around for a couple season on-and-off the roster and the practice squad, but he never really stuck. But this was a late round pick so it was a shot in the dark anyway. GRADE: D 7.48 CB Tommie Campbell (Cal-Penn): Campbell came from a very small school and, if I'm remembering correctly, had a few off-the-field issues in college. But he also has great size, and the Titans have a penchant for finding and drafting solid CBs in the final rounds of the draft. (For example, Jason McCourty was a 6th Rounder, Cortland Finnegan was a 7th Rounder, etc.) He was in a CB battle last offseason with Alterraun Verner for the #2 CB spot -- though Verner clearly bested him and went on to have a fantastic season. Still, Campbell's got talent, fantastic measurables, and has flashed potential in limited opportunities. I expect him to compete for the #2 gig again this offseason and, at the very least, he's a good ST player and good CB depth in a league where every team needs as many talented CBs as they can get. GRADE: B- OVERALL: I'd give this draft a solid "B" grade. While Harper was a bust as a mid-round pick, the Titans managed to draft a true stud in Casey, a very good player in Ayers, and a bunch of solid contributors in the late rounds (e.g. Klug, Campbell, & Stingily). A great deal will depend on how Locker plays this year. If he can stay healthy, then this draft grade will likely be even higher; if he gets hurt again and is gone next season, then the grade will lower a bit. Still...overall, this was a good, dependable draft for the Titans.
  11. MicktheGreat

    Auburn/Alabama - the finish of all finishes

    Yep...I despise the pre-season polls/rankings, which only serve to (a.) put money in the pockets of ESPN, CBS, etc. so that they can market early season games against arbitrarily determined top-ranked teams & (b.) maintain the "presige" of certain programs and certain conferences, year in and year out. I'm in favor of getting rid of polls/rankings altogether until early October. That way, one could...you know...actually watch some games before determining the best teams in the nation. As far as Wisconsin goes, the loss to a very average (even below-average) Penn State looks pretty bad. Still, I'd probably rank Wisconsin in the #24-#26 range; so I don't think they're egregiously overranked or anything.
  12. MicktheGreat

    Auburn/Alabama - the finish of all finishes

    I totally agree with you. If both teams win their conference championships, I think OSU is a shoe-in for the BCS Championship Game -- although I think that Auburn SHOULD play in that game, based on their body of work this year. (On a side note, I don't understand how OSU's undefeated record last year -- again, against mediocre competition -- should play a role in determining their inclusion in the BCS Championship Game this year, despite what I've heard from OSU supporters.) Of course, all of this is moot if either team loses their conference championship or if FSU somehow loses to Duke. Just for the record, I graduated from OSU and really enjoyed my time there. But, despite this, I'm capable of taking a step back and evaluating their team with a spirit of objectivity. Having watched a lot of OSU games over the past few years, there's just nothing that special about them. They tend to beat up on lesser competition; but, when playing competent -- not great, only competent -- teams, they struggle (e.g. overranked Wisconsin & Iowa, not to mention below-average Northwestern & Michigan). Michigan State will easily be the best team that they've played all year long -- even though I think MSU is slightly overrated at #10 (I'd put them more in the #12-15 range). Basically...OSU doesn't really pass the eye-ball test for me, and they certainly don't pass the numbers test. They're a good team but not a great team; but, again, they've benefited from the BCS's wonky polls, from the lingering reputation of the Big-10 as a "power conference" (it isn't, at least right now, at least in football), and from a non-existent out-of-conference schedule. You can't blame them for this strategy, given the circumstances. Right time, right place, right system.
  13. MicktheGreat

    Auburn/Alabama - the finish of all finishes

    Oops. Oversight on my part, when I was writing that late last night. I've fixed the original post.
  14. MicktheGreat

    Auburn/Alabama - the finish of all finishes

    Auburn SHOULD jump Ohio State with a win over Missouri. (Honestly, they should already be ranked ahead of Ohio State.) But I'm betting that -- because of Ohio State fanbase, Big-10 football "prestige," an undefeated season last year, etc. -- that Ohio State will manage to play for the National Championship. OHIO STATE: 1. Buffalo (8-4) 2. San Diego State (7-5) 3. California (1-11) 4. Florida A&M (3-9) 5. Wisconsin (9-3) 6. Northwestern (5-7) 7. Iowa (8-4) 8. Penn State (7-5) 9. Purdue (1-11) 10. Illinois (4-8) 11. Indiana (5-7) 12. Michigan (7-5) Opponent W-L Record: 65-79 Wins Over BCS Top 25: 1 (#21 WISC), possibly 2 (if W over #10 MSU) Wins Over Bowl Eligibles: 6 (BUF, SD, WISC, IA, PSU, MICH), possibly 7 (if win over MSU) AUBURN: 1. Washington State (6-6) 2. Arkansas State (7-5) 3. Mississippi State (6-6) 4. LSU (9-3) 5. Ole Miss (7-5) 6. W. Carolina (2-10) 7. Texas A&M (8-4) 8. Florida Atlantic (6-6) 9. Arkansas (3-9) 10. Tennessee (5-7) 11. Georgia (8-4) 12. Alabama (11-1) Opponent W-L Record: 78-66 Wins Over BCS Top 25: 3 (#4 AL; #22 GA; #24 TXA&M), possibly 4 (if W over #5 MIZZOU) Wins Over Bowl Eligibles: 8 (WSU, ARK ST., MS ST., MISS, TXA&M, FL ATL, GA, AL), possibly 9 (if W over MIZZOU) OSU's schedule just doesn't hold up in a really, really average BIG-10 conference this year and with zero impressive out-of-conference victories. (No...beating Buffalo -- the fourth best team in the MAC, a conference with four of the worst teams in all of Division 1 football -- doesn't count as an impressive out-of-conference victory.) Auburn's out-of-conference victories aren't very impressive either, though they did beat a mid-level PAC-12 team. The most telling thing here is simply the opponents' win-loss records for OSU and Auburn, which are essentially reversed. Whereas the combined opponent's record for OSU is 14 games under .500, Auburn's opponents were 12 games over .500. Even if you eliminate the extremes in both's schedule (i.e. Wisconsin/Cal & Alabama/WCarolina), their opponents' win-loss records are still essentially reversed. Assuming that OSU and Auburn both win their conference championships, then the case SHOULD just strengthen for Auburn, as they'll have beaten four Top-25 teams (as opposed to two Top-25 teams for OSU) and nine Bowl Eligible teams (to OSU's seven victories over Bowl Eligible teams). OSU will have beaten one BCS Top-10 team, whereas Auburn will have beaten two BCS Top-5 teams, in back-to-back weeks no less. Thinking in terms of percentage-difference, all of these numbers are significant and overwhelmingly in favor of Auburn. But, again...I don't think it'll matter. OSU has had an incredibly easy schedule, they played on the pitfalls of the current BCS system, they were fortunate to play in a weaker conference the past couple years, and they'll likely reap the rewards of their scheduling strategy by playing for the championship. Good for them. Moving towards next year's mini-playoff set-up, it'll be interesting to see if the strength-of-schedule becomes more/less of a factor.
  15. MicktheGreat

    Delanie Walker

    Walker's played really well for the Titans this year. Locker was starting to use him as a security blanket, and it looks like Fitz will do the same thing (and probably even more so, since Fitz hardly ever pushes the ball down the field). Walker's YPC is probably pretty low right now, but that's mostly because the Titans' OC (Dowell Loggains) is incredibly unimaginative and mostly uses Walker on little dump-off routes and whatnot. Personally, I think Walker's capable of much more, if the Titans' play-callers would give him the chance. Plus, he's a good blocker; he's pretty much made our "blocking TE" (Craig Stevens) obsolete this season. My only real complaint about Walker is that he's got this weird habit to sometimes bat balls up into the air rather than catch them. (This has almost led to an interception in a couple of games.) For the most part, he's got decent hands; but he seems to sometimes drop or bobble passes. Still...that might be something that will correct itself if Walker becomes a bigger part of the offense and gets more involved throughout the games.