Friday, September 30, 2011

College Football Predictions

With a new week upon us, and nearly all of college football having begun conference play now, it's time to break down this week's Top 25 Matchups. There are four games (NEB/WISC, BAMA/FLA, CLEM/VT, TAMU/ARK) featuring two teams in the top 20. Some fun games this weekend for sure! Disagree with our picks or have an upset special of your own? LET US KNOW!!!

Kentucky (2-2)  @  1 LSU (4-0)
LSU won’t need a Hail Mary to win this one. Watch to see what Les Miles does with the quarterback situation, though. 
Dot’s Pick: LSU 31-7      Dellav’s Pick: LSU 38-10      Final Score: LSU 35-7

Ball State (3-1)  @  2 Oklahoma (3-0)
Oklahoma will have this game out of reach by the end of the first quarter. Expect Landry Jones to once again put up numbers worthy of Heisman contention. 
Dot’s Pick: Oklahoma 45-10     Dellav’s Pick: Oklahoma 50-3     Final Score: Oklahoma 62-6

3 Alabama (4-0)  @  12 Florida (4-0)
Both teams are averaging close to 40 points a game, allowing less than 10 per game. Something’s got to give. Advantage Trent Richardson? Or, Advantage Charlie Weis?
Dot’s Pick: Alabama 24-20     Dellav’s Pick: Florida 27-24      Final Score: Alabama 38-10

Nevada (1-2)  @  4 Boise State (3-0)
Kellen Moore will continue to show why he should be a Heisman frontrunner, while the rest of the Bronco team makes up for a disappointing finish last year.
Dot’s Pick: Boise State 41-21     Dellav’s Pick: Boise State 34-24    Final Score: Boise 30-10

UCLA (2-2)  @  6 Stanford (3-0)
Stanford is quietly scoring 46 points per game, UCLA allowing over 30 on average.. . Luck will have  afield day in this game!
Dot’s Pick: Stanford 45-14     Dellav’s Pick: Stanford 51-21    Final Score: Stanford 45-19

8 Nebraska (4-0)  @  7 Wisconsin (4-0)
What a way to start your Big Ten career by heading up to Wisconsin. Taylor Martinez vs. Russell Wilson. Neither team has played any quality opponents yet, so it’s tough to predict how this one will go.
Dot’s Pick: Wisconsin 20-17      Dellav’s Pick: Nebraska 24-21        Final Score: Wisconsin 48-17

Auburn (3-1)  @  10 South Carolina (4-0)
Lattimore looks unstoppable right now, especially playing at home. Auburn probably doesn't stand a chance…then again we said that during week 2 as well.
Dot’s Pick: S. Carolina 31-27      Dellav’s Pick: Auburn 27-23        Final Score: Auburn 16-13
13 Clemson (4-0)  @  11 Virginia Tech (4-0)
Not only do you not win at Lane Stadium, you don’t score. Clemson might come out firing, or they might have a hangover after big win last week against Florida State.
Dot’s Pick: Virginia Tech 14-10      Dellav’s Pick: Clemson 27-24           Final Score: Clemson 23-3

14  Texas A&M (2-1)  @  18 Arkansas (3-1)
Future SEC matchup. High scoring matchup. This is the kind of game you could watch every weekend!
Dot’s Pick: Texas A&M 45-42 (OT)      Dellav’s Pick: Arkansas 35-30      Final Score: Ark 42-38

15 Baylor  @  Kansas State
Robert Griffin has the Baylor offense averaging over 51 points per game, but Kansas State always seems to come to play in these big games, especially at home…
Dot’s Pick: Kansas State 31-24      Dellav’s Pick: Baylor 45-27       Final Score: K-State 36-35

16 South Florida (4-0)  @  Pittsburgh (2-2)
Short week spells trouble for Pittsburgh with South Florida coming into town…but something tells me Ray Graham is going to have an unbelievable night!
Dot’s Pick: Pitt 44-17 =)     Dellav’s Pick: 41-14 YSU   (As you can tell, these are submitted post-game,       Final Score: Pitt 44-17)

17 Texas (3-0)  @  Iowa State (3-0)
Both teams are quietly undefeated. Iowa State’s 4 OT win over Iowa looms large, but a new version of McCoy to Shipley is tough to pick against.
Dot’s Pick: Texas 27-17      Dellav’s Pick: Texas 27-14          Final Score: Texas 37-14
Minnesota (1-3)  @  19 Michigan (4-0)
What pro-style offense? The Michigan coaching staff realizes, for the time being, they need to let Denard be Denard.  No problem.
Dot’s Pick: Michigan 38-17      Dellav’s Pick: Michigan 41-35      Final Score: Michigan 58-0

Southern Methodist (3-1)  @  20 Texas Christian (3-1)
Keep an eye on this one…TCU hasn’t been their best, and SMU can put up big points!
Dot’s Pick: TCU 34-31      Dellav’s Pick: TCU 38-17             Final Score: SMU 40-33

21 Georgia Tech (4-0)   @  North Carolina State (2-2)
You have to love the option. Tech’s running it to perfection right now. It’s shocking that an option offense is currently first in the NCAA in points scored. They control the ball, the clock, the game over the Wolfpack.
Dot’s Pick: Georgia Tech 34-7     Dellav’s Pick: Georgia Tech 41-21      Final Score: GT  45-35

Bowling Green (3-1)  @  22 West Virginia (3-1)
WVU needs to get last week’s game out of their memory banks. Sorry BGSU….
Dot’s Pick: West Virginia 60-13   Dellav’s Pick: West Virginia 42-7 (they cheat)    Final Score: WV 55-10

Northwestern (2-1)  @  24 Illinois (4-0)
Scheelehaase looks like a seasoned veteran in Zook’s offense…scary to think he’s only a sophomore. NW coming off of a bad loss to the hands of Army, another team who runs the option.
Dot’s Pick: Illinois 28-10      Dellav’s Pick: Illinois 30-14       Final Score: Illinois 38-35

Oregon State (0-3)  @  25 Arizona State (3-1)
Nothing new for the Beavers…They just can’t get a break since their week 1 devastating loss to Sacramento State.
Dot’s Pick: Arizona State 27-14      Dellav’s Pick: Arizona State 30-7     Final Score: ASU 35-20

Notable Unranked matchups:

Arizona (1-3)  @  USC (3-1)
Arizona finally gets a game against an unranked foe after playing three straight top 10 opponents…This might as well be the fourth in a row playing in the Coliseum.
Dot’s Pick: USC 27-17     Dellav’s Pick: USC 37-24          Final Score: USC  48-41

Michigan State (3-1)  @  Ohio State (3-1)
Sad that neither team is ranked…MSU’s loss comes at ND (0-2), where the Irish were actually favored. OSU is still missing players. This outcome might surprise the country.
Dot’s Pick: Michigan State 35-10      Dellav’s Pick: Ohio State 27-20        Final Score: MSU 10-7

Penn State (3-1)  @  Indiana (1-3)
Expect the Nittany Lion offense to continue to perform, mainly under the direction of Matt McGloin. Also watch to see how the absence of Mauti affects the defense.
Dot’s Pick: Penn State 31-14      Dellav’s Pick: Penn State 34-20        Final Score: PSU 16-10

49ers have a home in the "Ice Castle"

by Alex Dellaverson,

For the North East Ohioans who have been hiding under a rock, the San Francisco 49ers are staying in the Youngstown area this week with consecutive games in the Eastern Time Zone. The 49ers beat Cincinnati 13-8 last Sunday and are preparing to take on Andy Reid's 'dream team" this sunday. I was at the press conference held at the Holiday Inn on Wednesday and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh had some impressive things to say about YSU.

"It's outstanding. It's top notch in terms of the stadium, the two brand new turf fields, the indoor, the outdoor, plenty of equipment. I went over there and previewed it on Monday and Tuesday. Crowther sleds and shoots and pop-up dummies, jugs machines, great video angles, everything that we need. The weight room's fantastic, our guys had great workouts in there. Really everything we need, you guys have here. The neat thing is we've been treated like kings. That doesn't happen very often in anybody's life, but it's been really good here."

Quarterback Alex Smith had some kind words about Youngstown State as well.

"I haven't been in the indoor facility. I saw it from the outside and it looks great. I got to go over there and lift and workout and saw the athletic facilities, the stadium and the field. I was definitely impressed about it to say the least. I thought they were great facilities, definitely. We all came from college. I came from Utah, a Division-I school, and definitely comparable to that. From an NFL point, yeah absolutely, not a lot of drop-offs. Excited about that, you don't know what to expect and then you get over there and you see them and definitely pleasantly surprised."

I was going to inform Alex that YSU is in fact a Division 1 school but everyone knew the point he was trying to get across.

Star linebacker Patrick Willis was content with the YSU facilities as well "At the end of the day, we're football players. So, we dont look for everything to be great. Just give us a place to practice and get better, and we'll take it from there."

For those of you were not able to catch the press conference, I recorded everything which can be found on our youtube page. You can click on the link below to access it.

The Niners practiced again Thursday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium. They will have their hands full trying to contain Michael Vick and the rest of the "dream squad".
For those of you were not able to see the 49ers practice at Youngstown State, our photographer and Formula-1 racing specialist, Ryan Mooney, has some great photos for your to look at.

I would like to give special thanks to Bob Lange the Director of Public Relations of the San Francisco 49ers for giving 360 Sports Network permission to attend the press conference.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fantasy Football Advice - Week 4 Start em / Sit em

Week 4 fantasy football advice from 3SN, recorded live on 1240 WBBW. Thanks to the Ryan and Christian Show for having us on again!

Friday, September 23, 2011

2012 NHL Preseason Awards Predictions

360 Sports Network NHL expert Pete Leck:

With the beginning of the NHL season merely two weeks away, now seems like as good a time as any to try to sort out this year’s potential award winners. Each category will feature the favorite to win, followed by the next four in line, in no particular order. As an added bonus, a darkhorse who could challenge for some hardware, considering quite a few breaks go their way, will be included as well. With that said, let’s get right into it.

Hart Trophy - Most Valuable Player

Winner: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals - Despite having what many people referred to as a “down year”in the 10-11 season, Ovechkin still posted 32 goals and 53 assists. However, this was done with an 8.7% shooting percentage, far and away the lowest of his career. Expect that shooting percentage to climb back into the low teens, closer to his career average. Couple this with an almost certain increase from last season’s 7 power play goals, almost half of his previous career low, and it’s easy to see Ovechkin returning to his 50 goal form, and possibly pushing for 60 considering all the talent he has around him in Washington. Combine those goal numbers with Ovechkin’s improved playmaking abilities, and a 110 point season could be very much in reach for the Russian superstar. Look for Ovechkin to capture the Rocket Richard as well as the Art Ross to go with the Hart Trophy.
Apologies to: Evgeni Malkin (PIT), Henrik Sedin (VAN), Pavel Datsyuk (DET), Steven Stamkos (TAM)
Dark Horse Candidate: Bobby Ryan (ANA)

Norris Trophy – Best Defenseman
Shea Weber has 11 goals and 25 points in 30 games with the Preds this season. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Winner: Shea Weber, Nashville Predators - Fresh off singing a 1 year, $7.5 million contract, look for Weber to put on a showcase to put him in position for a lucrative long-term contract. With 45 goals through the last three seasons, Weber is a proven goal scorer from the backend, and looks to break the 50 point plateau for the second time in his career. His booming 100 mph slap shot should see to it that it happens. In his own end, Weber is a force, hitting almost everything he sees. What’s more impressive though, is that he is able to do this without taking penalties, as he only had 56 PIM last season. Being the Predator’s top option on both the PP and the PK, expect Weber to see plenty of ice time with fellow stud Ryan Suter to protect goalie Pikka Rinne. Because of Nashville’s other weaknesses, Weber’s plus/minus may not be through the roof, but Lindstrom’s Norris last year featured a -2 rating, and Weber’s should certainly be higher than that.
Apologies to: Nicklas Lindstrom (DET), Zdeno Chara (BOS), Kris Letang (PIT), Drew Doughty (LAK)
Dark Horse Candidate: Erik Karlsson (OTT)

Vezina Trophy–Best Goaltender
Winner: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist has been one of the few forces driving the Rangers towards playoff contention in the past few seasons. However, this season should provide the Rangers with more weapons, such as highly coveted center Brad Richards, which should only improve upon Lundqvist’s already stellar career averages. The maturation of young defensemen Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, and Michael Del Zotto will be key to the Swedish goalie’s Vezina chances. Marc Staal has already flashed shutdown potential, but the ability of the rest of the Ranger’s extremely young defense to protect their goalie will be paramount to not only Lundqvist’s success, but the entire team as well. Look for the defense to rise to the challenge, andfor Lundqvist to increase his .928 save percentage (.01 away from 4th place in the NHL) and a decrease in his 2.28 GAA (good for 6th in the NHL.)
Apologies to: Pikka Rinne (NAS), Ryan Miller (BUF), Tim Thomas (BOS), Roberto Luongo (VAN)
Dark Horse Candidate: Thomas Vokoun (WAS)

Selke Trophy – Best Defensive Forward
Winner: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings – As long as Pavel Datsyuk plays even close to a full season, he’s almost a lock to win the Selke Trophy. Datsyuk is able to play in all three zones like few other forwards in the game, and his back-checking is matched by none. A takeaway machine, Datsyuk ranked 11th last year despite only playing in 56 games, and led the NHL in the 09-10 campaign by almost 50 takeways.In addition to this, Datsyuk is frequently a top faceoff man, and last year was no different as he ranked 19th in faceoff percentage, with so called “faceoff specialists” occupying many of the spots ahead of him. Constantly being the highest scoring of all Selke nominees does nothing but improve his chances every year, and the 11-12 season should prove to be no different.
Apologies to: Jordan Staal (PIT), Patrice Bergeron (BOS), Ryan Kesler (VAN), Mike Richards (LAK)
Dark Horse Candidate: Ryan O’Reilly (COL)

Jack Adams Award – Best Head Coach
Winner: Terry Murray, Los Angeles Kings – This award can usually be won in a variety of ways, but the most common way is to coach a team that greatly exceeds expectations, or takes the next big step in becoming a power in their respective conference. This is where Terry Murray comes in. The Kings have made the playoffs the last two seasons, but as lower seeds that failed to make much noise. This year, expect the addition of Mike Richards, and a full season of Anze Kopitar’s services to key the Kings to a top 3 finish in the Western Conference. If the Kings are able to do that, then Murray, who has already done a fantastic job since taking over the franchise in 2008, should be in line for his first Jack Adams award.
Apologies to: Dan Bylsma (PIT), Mike Babckock (DET), John Tortorella (NYR), Barry Trotz (NAS)
Dark Horse Candidate: Mike Yeo (MIN)

Calder Trophy – Rookie of the Year
Winner: Adam Larsson, New Jersey Devils – Of all the players drafted, Swedish defender Adam Larsson was viewed as being the most NHL-ready prospect. After his first preseason game, count superstar IlyaKovlchuk among his supporters, as he told the New York Post in an interview that he believes Larsson should make the team. If he does, expect him to receive playing time in many difference situations for a Devils defense that did little to impress last year. Given sufficient power play time, Larsson could rack up 40 points, and if that is coupled with reliable defense in front of future Hall of Famer, Martin Brodeur, the Calder Trophy could be sitting in the young Swedes trophy case this time next year.
Apologies to: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM), Gabriel Landeskog (COL), Erik Gudbranson (FLA)
Dark Horse Candidate: Sean Couturier (PHI)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 3 - Start 'Em / Sit 'Em

3SN joins up with WBBW for Fantasy Football advice for week three. Have any questions? comments? concerns? ASK 3SN!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

F1 Season Update - Singapore Preview

The 2011 Formula One season could thus far be characterized by one word: dominance. I’ll not go so far as to say that the degree of competitive advantage currently exhibited by the Red Bull Racing team is rare, but it is certainly not common. At this time last year, only 24 points separated championship leader Mark Webber from fifth place teammate Sebastian Vettel. This year, the picture is much different. Red Bull find themselves in command of an even greater points differential relative to their rivals and Webber’s fortunes are reversed, achieving only 172 points to Vettel’s 284. So great is Vettel’s lead over the rest of the field that, should he win in Singapore, he will secure the World Driver’s Championship with five rounds yet to be contested. How and why did we get here? Another concise answer: development.

As discussed in my introductory piece on Formula One, the teams independently interpret the technical regulations and construct vehicles which adhere to them. Throughout the season, they are permitted to continue to refine the car and adapt it to the changing competitive climate. Just two weeks ago during the Italian Grand Prix, most of the teams ran aero parts specific to only Autodromo di Monza. Red Bull began the season with a very strong package but their aggressive developmental pace has assured them a roughly constant second-per-lap advantage on their nearest competition. The RB7 has taken ten pole positions and won eight races of the 13 completed this season; coupled with the pace of its predecessor, the RB7 appears to be the engine which could propel Red Bull to the height Ferrari enjoyed with Michael Schumacher at the wheel in the early 2000s. And with that observation I feel I’ve preemptively answered a question some were undoubtedly asking: who cares about 2011 if the championship’s already all but decided?

We’re witnessing history.

Whether amassing 30+ second gaps to second place, barely inching away from a desperate Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton, or T-boning Jenson Button at the end of the Kemmel Straight (an incident I suspect Seb will never live down), Vettel is a remarkably skilled driver. It takes equal parts manhood and dexterity to negotiate Monza’s Variante Ascari sideways. Assuming Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschits continues writing checks sufficient to keep Christian Horner, Sebastian Vettel, and perhaps most importantly Adrian Newey onboard, I don’t see any reason why Vettel might not equal or better Schumacher’s seven championships – he’s only 24 years old, after all. Schumi was 25 when he won his first WDC.

So, the historical implications of witnessing the meteoric rise of one young talent aside, what reason have we to continue to watch the 2011 season? I thought ahead and made a list.

Foremost is the sheer excitement of a completely unknown track. Anyone who recalls the exhilaration (and anxiety, owing to the track’s last-minute completion) in the run up to last year’s Korean Grand Prix is surely waiting with baited breath to see the new Buddh International Circuit nearing completion in India. It’s a rare treat to watch 24 drivers and their teams scramble to make sense of uncharted territory after only several hours of practice.

Buddh International Track Map

2011 will also be only the second running of the aforementioned Korean Grand Prix. Last year’s event was made fascinating by dynamic weather conditions; rain delayed the start and the setting sun perfectly accented the closing laps. Can the circuit stand alone? Will it need to? The peninsula is prone to fits of precipitation so inclement weather may well be in store again.

It’s probably safe to say that rain will not play a part in only the third running of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The track has been nearly universally panned in light of a processional season closer last November, but organizers believe that this year’s rules will facilitate overtaking.

Rounding out this list is the human element. Lotus Renault GP (formerly Renault F1) brought in Bruno Senna, legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna’s nephew, to replace Nick Heidfeld from the Belgian Grand Prix after a string of lackluster results. Bruno drove the HRT chassis last year but finished 23rd with no championship points; I’m not the only one curious to know what he can do with a more potent machine. It’s also Kamui Kobayashi’s second full season in F1. Kobayashi seriously impressed the paddock after scoring 3 points at his second race, the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009. Finishing 12th in the WDC last year with 32 points, he currently stands 11th with 27 points and six rounds to go.

This weekend, the teams find themselves at a track largely devoid of character contesting an event that tends to instead illuminate the character of the drivers. The 5.073km course is claustrophobic, walled-in like Valencia, and consists of many near right-angle corners. The streets of Singapore feature no elevation change, and nowhere to go in case of error or mechanical failure. The racing will take place at night, the entire circuit bathed in white, artificial light.

These same streets were the site of the Crashgate controversy in 2008 that saw Flavio Briatore banished from the sport. Lewis Hamilton threw his steering wheel (watch for it about 1 minute into the clip) in frustration after making contact with Mark Webber in 2010 in what was his second consecutive retirement.

Fernando Alonso has claimed he wishes to delay Vettel’s second WDC by winning this weekend and he may stand the best chance of any man on the grid. Alonso won Singapore last year and the Ferrari has been quick lately. As always, nobody can be sure just what will happen when the lights go out so be sure to tune in to SpeedTV Saturday, Sept. 24 at 10AM ET for live qualifying and Sunday, Sept. 25 at 7:30AM or 3PM for the race.

Monday, September 19, 2011

NFL Week 2 Recap

Back On The Mat!

It sounds like Dennis Quaid in the 2002 movie "The Rookie" but his is no Hollywood production.

Nearly ten years ago, fittingly in 2002, a wrestler from Iowa State University made national headlines in a sport many forget exists in athletics. Cael Sanderson finished his senior year with a national championship in the 84 kg weight class, his fourth consecutive. More impressive: he never lost a single match. He's the only wrestler in NCAA Division I history to go undefeated with over 100 victories, a feat deemed by Sports Illustrated to be the second greatest feat in college athletics (Behind Jesse Owens setting four world records in the 1935 Big Ten Track and Field Championships). Two years later, Cael won gold at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens. His performances rightfully place him as one of the greatest amateur (aka, REAL) wrestlers of all time.

Fast forward to 2009 when he took the job of wrestling coach at Penn State after a three year stint coaching his alma mater Cyclones. The stories I would read on a day-to-day basis in the Penn State paper The Daily Collegian truly made my jaw drop. I read stories of Sanderson getting on the mat himself and wrestling his players, teaching first-hand the moves that led him to four national titles.

Apparently, like Dennis Quaid's character's fastball in "The Rookie," Sanderson's moves showed that he was still an amazing wrestler, now in his early 30's. After a solid first year at Penn State, his players made a bet with him. If the Penn State wrestling team won the Big Ten Tournament, Sanderson would return to the mat.

Well, you can guess what happened next, as the best Hollywood directors couldn't have written a better script.

Penn State won the Big Ten title, but didn't stop there as they moved "onward" to a NCAA National Championship, in only Sanderson's second season in Happy Valley.

Sanderson of course kept true to his word, and the script continues. He wrestled in the United States World Trials in June, and moved on to the 2011 FILA world championships in Turkey this past Saturday. He finished fifth in the 84 kg division, the same class he wrestled in throughout his career, good enough to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games! He lost an early match to the eventual champion in the 84 kg division, but fought back to the bronze medal match. He didn't concede a point in either round of that match, and he dominated it, but lost the tiebreaker in both rounds so lost the bout. (I'll admit I don't know the scoring system of wrestling very well...I'm still working on it!) 

 For a seven year hiatus from the sport, to go out there and finish fifth in the world at his class is saying something! Give him another year of coaching his team, joining his team on the mat in practice more than likely as well, and who knows what this man is capable of doing! He is going to be a top contender in London next summer, and my money is on him to win it! He finished fifth with just a few months of training. He has a whole year now to prepare, so watch out London! Congratulations, Cael, you have impressed us yet again with your abilities as an athlete, as a leader, and as a human being.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pitt to the ACC?

That's what it sounds like! What does this mean for Pitt and the rest of the nation, especially the ACC and Big East conferences? What do you think?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fantasy Football Start 'em/ Sit 'em - Week 2

Aired Thursday, September 15, 2011 on ESPN Radio 1240 WBBW as part of the Ryan and Christian Show. Thank you guys so much for bringing us on board!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

College Football Week 1 Recap

Alex and I analyze the big headlines from week one of the college football season. Who do you think are the contenders and pretenders?

Moss This, Moss That.

Randy Moss back to the Patriots? It may be so! Alex "The Freak Expert" discusses the possibility of Moss back in Foxboro.

3SN Sports Break - NFL Frenzy

There's lots of action just a few days before the start of the season! Peyton Manning might not start, David Garrard is surprisingly released, and the Giants suffer yet another defensive injury. We discuss all of these in the first 3SN Sports Break!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fantasy Football - The Secret Ingredients

Nobody cares about tight ends, kickers, and defenses in fantasy football right? WRONG! They are the secret ingredients that can lead your team to victory on the fantasy gridiron!

Tight Ends: The top 5 or 6 are great, but beyond that there's a huge drop-off. I know we don't want to be "that guy" and pick one too early, but TE's go quickly once that first one is taken, so be ready!

Defense/ST: Pittsburgh we agree is #1, Philly and GB coming in as 2 or 3. Beyond these teams, and even with them, it's best to play the match-up game on a weekly basis to determine your starting defense.  We do like Detroit though!!!

Kickers: Who cares? If you are allowed to skip drafting a kicker, DO IT! Some commissioners may force you to fill your roster, but if not, then use your last pick to select another quality backup. Then make your decision to drop somebody (as an injury probably will come up eventually anyway) a day or two before the season starts to pick up a kicker. You'll cost yourself an average of maybe 1 or 2 points max. Instead, your "Mr. Irrelevant" might end up averaging 15 points a week through the season! Well worth it! Oh, and early in the week when waivers open, Greg says don't be afraid if you don't know who to drop but you have a good looking guy available. Drop your kicker. Make the tough decision of what position player you have to drop on Saturday or Sunday morning.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Inside Paternoville

I'm reporting from a very wet Paternoville in University Park, PA, for the big game this week vs. Alabama!

For every home game, Penn State students camp out outside of Beaver Stadium days in advance for premier seats on Saturday! This is my first experience in Paternoville and I'm sharing the fun with you! To view all of my V-logs, CLICK HERE!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A perspective on the Panthers in 2011

Another year and another season in which many "experts" are picking Pitt to win the big east. That is not a good thing for Pitt. It seems every time they are expected to do well they have a let down. Pitt has NEVER won a big east championship outright and they have been playing in the league since 1991. They did represent the big east in the Fiesta Bowl in 2004 but everyone forgets they shared the title with Boston College, Syracuse, and West Virginia. They were also co-champions last year but Uconn got the BCS bid.

Stevie P brought in Todd Graham because he thinks his "High Octane" style of football will put butts in the seats at Heinz Field.

I know the Big East is weak but im not sure why so many people are high on a program that has a new coaching staff.  Paul Ziese of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said a new head coach is not an excuse for Pitt not winning the conference championship. Well I agree with that to a certian extent but the thing is Pitt is transitioning to a completly different and radical style of play. Pitt played a pro-style run first offense the last 6 years and it is going to take some time to adjusts to Todd Grahams  "High Octane" offense.

I do think Pitt will have a winnng season but I dont think they are BCS bound. They do have alot of talented players on their roster but I see this team finishing at about 7-5 under Todd Graham. Thats not bad for a program with new head coach. I see Pitt losing games to Iowa, Notre Dame, South Florida (they lose thursday games), Utah, and West Virginia.

A few things have to happen in order for Pitt to win the big east.

-Tino Sunseri has to find his grove in the no huddle/spread offense. Tino seemed limited last year in what he could do but he had flashes of greatness in certian games most notably when they played Syracuse in the carrier dome. Tino will be under shot-gun 99% of the time so this could work out real well for him or it could be a disaster.

-The inside linebacker position has to get better. The coaches have been frustrated all camp by primary inside linebackers Senior Max Gruder, Senior Tristan Roberts, and redshirt sophmore Shane Gordon. Those three will have to get their act together if Pitt's defense is going to hold up against offenses such as West Virginia.

-Ray Graham has to live up to expectations. Todd Graham said it would not be a stretch of Ray Graham rushed for over 2,000 yards this year since the passing game could take longer to advance. Graham was a back up last year to Neon Dion Lewis but still managed to score 8 touchdowns and get close to 1,000 yards rushing (he finished with 922 yards). Wisconsin transfer RB Zach Brown is also a nice addition to the rushing game and he is expected to contribute right away so Pitt should have to problem moving the rock all over the field.

As much as this hurts me to admit but I think West Virgina (I did not spell that wrong, see WVU NIT champions) will win the Big Easy. My co-blogger James Dotson disagrees with me as he of course has Pitt winning the conference. If you think I am wrong please let me know. I really hope I am wrong because i love Pitt and i would love nothing more than to see them in a BCS game, unless they go up against a Florida or Alabama and lose 52-3. If thats the case then they can play in the scrapbook toilet paper bowl and i am completely okay with it. Enjoy the season everyone.

2011 Preview - Pitt and Penn State

James and I analyze the 2011 season for Pitt and Penn State in our latest podcast. We have a few differing opinions, but all in all we both believe that the Keystone teams could have big years in 2011!