Monday, December 31, 2012

Everything Old Is New Again

At first I thought this was a reprint of a 1970's headline: Greenwich Village couple busted with cache of weapons, bombmaking explosives: sources ...but it's not about Bill Ayers and his (blowed up) girlfriend, Diana Oughton. No. Billy is a well respected (by some) retired professor concerned with elementary education, friend of the President and, quite possibly, co-author of the President's memoirs.

These two current idiots, from privileged backgrounds (she's the daughter of a NYC doctor while he is a Harvard grad), members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, on the verge of procreating (the article says she's nine months pregnant!), are...well..idiots with a plan. And there's nothing more dangerous than that. Luckily, they are also more evidence that credentialed does not mean intelligent.

Cops found the stash in the couple’s West Ninth Street home Saturday when they went there to look for Gliedman, 27, who was wanted for alleged credit-card theft. [That would be the pregnant one.]
A detective discovered a plastic container with seven grams of a white chemical powder called HMTD, which is so powerful, cops evacuated several nearby buildings.

Bowl Season Predictions, Part 9

We’re just a little more than midway through the Silly Season of bowl games and if there’s one thing I’ve proved it’s that I am no better a prognosticator than the weatherman. With nineteen games having been played, I and 9-10 as is my Sister. (My niece is at 8-11.)

New Year’s Eve Day has four games on the schedule starting at noon.

First is the Music City Bowl out of Nashville with Vanderbilt (8-4) playing N.C. State (7-5).

The N.C. State Wolfpack will coached by interim coach/offensive coordinator, Dana Bible. On November 24, they fired head coach Tom O'Brien after six seasons at the helm. Dave Doeren, who coached Orange Bowl-bound Northern Illinois this past season, will take over upon conclusion of the game. The Wolfpack had high hopes for an ACC championship at the start of the year but struggled just to finish with a conference record of 4-4. One bright spot on offense has been QB Mike Glennon. Glennon has thrown for 3648 yards and 30 touchdowns but he’s also tossed 14 INTs. WR Bryan Underwood has caught 10 of those TD tosses. Overall, the Wolfpack are ranked 20th in the nation in passing offense.  (In all other categories they are “meh!” and in rushing, they are more “yuck!”)

The Commodores’ strength is defense…especially pass defense. They are ranked 9th in the nation against the pass yielding just 175.8 yards per game. RB Zac Stacy has run for 1034 yards and 9 TDs while WR Jordan Matthews has 87 catches for 1262 yards (a 14.5 yards per catch average) and 7 TDs.

Vandy is a 7 ½ point favorite in this one and will win.


At 2 PM CBS will air the Sun Bowl out of El Paso with the Southern California Trojans (7-5) teeing it up against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-7).

It’s been a disappointing season for the Trojans who dreamt of a National Championship back in August. Matt Barkley opted to return for that and passed on entering the pro draft. He’s had, for him, a  lackluster season (63.9 % completion rate, 3273 yards, 36 TD passes, but 15 INTs. He’s also been injured and will not be playing in this game after injuring his shoulder against UCLA.  USC still has plenty of weapons, however. Silas Redd transferred over from Penn State has scored 9 TDs on the ground and WR Marqise Lee has 112 catches for 1680 yards and 14 TDs. WR Robert Woods had 73 catches and 11 TDs. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will make his second start in place of Barkley. He started the final game of the regular season in a 22-13 loss to Notre Dame. He’s had the benefit of extra practices since then and should be ready.

In contrast to USC’s air attack, Georgia Tech was one of two FBS schools to rush for more than 4,000 yards. They average 3312.5 yards per game and rank 4th in the nation rushing. Using the triple-option, six players ran for more than 400 yards and three for more than 600, highlighted by QB Tevin Washington's 19 touchdowns. Passing offense is a different story. They are 114th in the nation gaining just 134.1 ypg.

USC has had difficulty stopping the run. They gave up 1300 yards to Arizona and Oregon in back-to-back losses. Still, the Trojans are 7 ½ point favorites. My pick: USC.


At 3:30 PM Iowa State Cyclones (6-6) will face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-3) in the Liberty Bowl to be played in Memphis, Tennessee.

These teams met in the first game of the regular season (September 1st) with the Cyclones beating the Golden Hurricane 38-23. In that contest, Tulsa jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the first quarter only to see Iowa State score 24 consecutive points.

The Golden Hurricanes have one of the best run offenses in the nation. (They are ranked 11th) Alex Singleton, Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas each have topped 760 yards this season for one of the nation's top ground attacks (240.2 yards per game). Watts has a team-best 959 yards and Douglas has 857, while Singleton has scored 22 touchdowns this year. (Singleton has scored 41 in his career.) Junior QB Cody Green, has nine of his 20 total TDs in the last four games. He’s thrown for 17 TDs and 10 INTs. Two of those INTs came in the first game against the Cyclones.  

Tulsa is also ranked 19th in the nation against the run. They yield just 121.2 ypg on the ground.

Iowa State is what you would expect for a 6-6 team.  They are ranked 75th in pass offense, 65th in rushing offense, 107th in pass defense and 67th in rush offense.  And despite all that, Iowa State is a 1 point favorite. No way do they win this game. My pick: Tulsa.


The final game of the night is the Chick-fil-A Bowl out of Atlanta with LSU (10-2) playing Clemson (10-2). 

Clemson scores points (they’ve  tallied 37 or more 10 times this year), LSU doesn’t allow many points (they’ve given up 22 just once).

Clemson has the nation’s 13th ranked passing offense. Tajh Boyd has thrown for 3550 yards and 34 TDs. He has, however, also tossed 13 INTs. WR DeAndre Hopkins has 16 of those TD catches.

 LSU has the nation’s 20th ranked pass defense. LSU has the nation’s 10th ranked rushing defense. Clemson has the nation’s 33rd ranked rushing offense. Andre Ellington has 1031 yards on 201 carries and has scored eight TDs.

LSU is led by QB Zach Mettenberger who has tossed just 11 TDs and 6 INTs. RB Jeremy Hill has 130 carries for 631 yards and 10 TDs.

LSU is a 6 point favorite. They don’t score much, but they usually don’t have to. They will have to in this game. My pick: Clemson

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bowl Season Predictions, Part 8

Saturday is a busy, busy day in the Silly Season of college football bowls. There are five games on tap with all but one airing on ESPN. (The other is on ESPN2.)

 At 11:45 AM the Armed Forces Bowl kicks off in Fort Worth, Texas. The Rice Owls (6-6) will face the Falcons of Air Force (6-6).
This will be the first appearance in a bowl game for the Rice Owls since 2008. They may be only a .500 team at 6-6 but they got there with lots of momentum. The Owls lost five of their first six games but turned things around to win five of their last six. During their four game win streak in that stretch, the Owls averaged 40.5 points and 432.0 yards offense per game. For the season, Rice’s rushing offense is ranked 30th in the nation with 201.3 ypg.

Air Force has an even better rushing attack. Ranked #2 in the nation with 328.8 ypg, Rice is going to have a tough time stopping the run. Fortunately—and ironically—Air Force is terrible in the air. This season, the Falcons gained an average of just 107.2 ypg passing. That put them at 116th in the nation. Air Frce does have the better pass defense (28th in the nation giving up 204.1 ypg), but their rush defense is pretty poor (96th in the nation yielding 198 ypg).

So we’ve got two teams that can run the ball pretty well but have difficulty stopping the run. The game may be played in Rice’s backyard, but Air Force is a 3 point favorite. My pick: Air Force.


The Pin Stripe Bowl will be played in the Bronx (NYC for those who don’t know) at 3:15 PM. The West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5) square off against the Orange of Syracuse (7-5). The game will be played outside at Yankee Stadium. And the forecast is for snow. Weather could be a factor in this one.

West Virginia started the year 5-0 and averaging 52 points a game. They reached #5 in the rankings before crashing as they entered play in the Big 12. One thing that didn’t change was the throwing of Geno Smith. Smith threw for just over 4000 yards and completed 40 TD passes this year.  The Mountaineers passing offense is ranked 6th in the nation (340.9 ypg) and they’re not bad running the ball either (47th in the nation with 177.6 ypg). Stedman bailey is Smith’s favorite target (106 catches for 1501 yards and 23 TDs). No, West Virginia’s problems are not on the offensive side of the ball. Defense—particularly pass defense—is their Achilles’ heel. The Mountaineers are 117th in the nation on pass defense yielding 327.1 ypg.

Syracuse was a team of mystery this year. Perhaps the most appropriate descriptive would be “inconsistent.” At times, the combination of QB Ryan Nassib (3619 yards and 24 TDs) and WR Alec Lemon (1-63 yards and 7 TDs receiving) have looked unstoppable. Jerome Smith rushed for over 1000 yards added balance. Then, things would fall apart. Nassib tossed 9 INTs many of which seemed to come at the worst possible time. Luckily, the Orange are on a roll. They finished the season with three consecutive wins.

Under ideal conditions, this could be a high scoring game. As mentioned, however, snow is in the forecast so things won’t be ideal. WVU is favored by 3.5 points but I believe the Syracuse Orange will pull off the upset.


ESPN2 will air the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at 4:00 PM in San Francisco with the Midshipmen of Navy (7-4) face the Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5).

Navy has the nation’s #6 rushing offense (275.6 ypg) and the 34th passing defense. Yet, the Midshipmen do not have a 1000 yard rusher. They started the season with losses to Notre Dame and Penn State before getting their legs under them and going 8-2 the rest of the way.

The Sun Devils are 44th in the nation rushing (258.5 ypg) and 39th in rushing (190.8 ypg). Their passing defense is 12th in the nation (178.8 ypg) but only 75th against the rush (172.0 ypg).  Arizona State started the season 5-1 before dropping four consecutive games (to Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, and USC). They finished with wins over Washington State and Arizona.

Arizona is favored by 14. It’s in San Francisco in the winter. Some rain (naturally) is forecast early. Will it make things a bit slick? Maybe.  I still see ASU stopping Navy just often enough.


At 6:45 PM, the Texas Longhorns (8-4) will face the Oregon State Beavers (9-3) in the Alamo bowl in San Antonio, Texas.
The Longhorns are 38th in the nation in pass offense, 49th in rushing offense, and 37th in pass defense. BUT they are 98th in rushing defense. That might turn out pretty good for Texas. Oregon State is 15th in passing offense but just 100th in rushing offense.  The Beavers are 44th against the pass and 29th against the run. WR Mike Davis has 54 catches for 909 yards and 7 TDs. Running Back Joe Bergeron has scored 16 rushing touchdowns.

Texas enjoyed two four-game win streaks this season and suffered two two-game losing streaks. They played like Jekyll and Hyde. Unfortunately, they ended the season with one of those losing streaks.  The Beavers started the season 6-0 before going just 3-3 to end the season. However, their losses were to Washington, Stanford, and Oregon.

Sean Mannion started the season as QB for the Beavers and completed 64.7 % of his passes for 2446 yards and 15 TDs but also tossed 13 INTs. He suffered an injury mid season and played in just nine games before and after his injury. Mannion was replaced by junior Cody Vaz who has thrown for 1286 yards, 11 TDs and just one INT in six games. Vaz will be at the helm in the Alamo Bowl. No matter who the QB is, you can expect WR Markus Wheaton will play a big part. He has 88 receptions for 1207 yards and 11 touchdowns. (He also scored two on the ground.)

Even though this game is being played in the state of Texas, Oregon State is favored by 3-1/2 points and should more than cover.


The final game of the day, starting around 10:15 PM is the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona. The Horned Frogs of TCU (7-5) play the Spartans of Michigan State (6-6).

TCU started the season 4-0 with junior Casey Pachall as quarterback. Pachall was arrest for a DUI on October 4th and dropped out of school and into an inpatient program. His replacement was freshman Trevone Boykin who looked shaky at times but finished the year with 15 TD passes and nine INTs. He also rushed for 380 yards. The extra practices will certainly help.

Michigan State has yielded just five rushing touchdowns (tied for second in the nation).  Their defense is ranked 4th in the nation overall. Their weakness has been their offense. They are 72nd in passing and 73rd rushing. They’ve lost a lot of close games and won a few by stopping some high powered offenses.  As a result, the Spartans are 2-1/2 point favorites. My pick: The Horned Frogs of TCU will pull off the upset.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bowl Season Predictions, Part 7

Friday is another busy day with three games on tap.

The Independence Bowl from Shreveport, LA airs at 2:00PM. The Ohio University Bobcats (8-4) face the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (8-4). 

The Bobcats started the season 7-0 but stumbled in late October and November losing four of their last five games including their last three. Their only victory in that stretch came against 2-10 Eastern Michigan. They do have a strong offense, however. Led by running back Beau Blankenship’s 1500 yards and 11 TDs on the ground and the passing of Tyler Tettleton (62.0% completions rate, 16 TDs and just 3 INTs), the Bobcats’ offense is ranked 41st in the nation overall. On defense, they’re not too shabby either. Ranked 65th overall, they yield 166.4 ypg on the ground and 229.8 ypg passing.

The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks have a pretty good offense, too. They are ranked 34th in the nation overall. However, they depend a great deal on their passing game (296.7 ypg (27th in the nation)) and much less upon their ground game (146 ypg (80th in the nation)).  QB Kolton Browning has a 64.8 % completion rate and has thrown for 2830 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has tossed 7 INTs, however. Browning’s favorite target is wide receiver Brent Leonard who has had 97 catches for 1042 yards and 10 TDs.  Browning also leads the Warhawks in rushing. He’s had 122 carries gaining 441 yards and scored 7 touchdowns on the ground.

Throw in the home-team advantage of playing in their backyard, and you understand why the Warhawks are 7 point favorites. My pick: Louisiana-Monroe


The Russell Athletic Bowl from Orlando, FL at 5:30 PM features the Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6) against the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers (9-3).

The Hokies struggled this year. They had to win their last two games (Boston College and Virginia) in order to become bowl eligible. Their strength has been their defense. Ranked 23rd overall, they yield just 139.7 yards on the ground (34th) and 204.9 ypg via the air (28th). On offense, they are just 66th overall, with 157.8 ypg on the ground (63rd) and 234.1 ypg passing (60th). QB Logan Thomas leads the team in both passing (2783 yards, 17 TDs) and rushing (167 carries for 528 yards and 9 TDs). One problem? Thomas has also thrown 14 interceptions.

Rutgers had a chance to wrap up the Big East title by winning their last two games (Pittsburgh and Louisville). They didn’t do it. As a result, they are co-champs with Cincinnati, Louisville, and Syracuse as all were 5-2 in conference play.  One of the reasons they faltered is their offense. The Scarlet Knights are 96th overall (125.9 ypg rushing (100th) and 215.2 ypg passing (80th). QB Gary Nova struggled with his passing this year but still passed for 2566 yards and 22 TDs. His 15 INTs, however, were the reason for the three losses. Running back Jawane Jamison suffered a sprained ankle late in the season and pretty much disappeared from the offense for the last three games. Still, Jamison gained 1054 yards on 242 carries and back up Savon Huggins filled in well.

So how did Rutgers get to be 9-3 with that weak offense? In a word: Defense.  Khaseem Greene leads that defense. He was named the Big East defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season. Greene made 125 tackles, had 5 1/2 sacks and six forced fumbles. As a unit, they are ranked 14th overall yielding just 105 ypg rushing (11th) and 216.3 ypg passing (37th). Add special teams blocking punts, field goals, and extra points (they lead the nation in that category) and it boils down to the fact that the Scarlet Knights just do not let the other team score very much. In their nine victories (including a 35-26 win over Arkansas) they have allowed just 9.9 points per game.  Add the three defeats and they still ranked sixth nationally in points allowed at 14.3 per game.

Jamison is healthy. Khaseem Greene is healthy. Nova has had a month of practice.  Rutgers is listed as a 2.5 point underdog but they also have the nation’s longest bowl winning streak (6) and a chance to reach 10 victories for the season.

My pick: Rutgers will win this one.


At 9:00 PM we have the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston, TX. The Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) square off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5).

The Golden Gophers are horrible on offense (108th in the nation) gaining just 146.1 ypg rushing (79th) and 171.4 ypg passing (105th). They are, however, much better on defense. They are 29th overall on the defensive side of the ball yielding 174.3 yards per game rushing (74th) and just 178.5 ypg passing (10th). They were just 2-6 in the Big 10 and scored more than 17 points in those 8 games just once.

The Red Raiders lost their head coach, Tommy Tuberville, to Cincinnati and will be lead in this bowl game by interim coach Chris Thomsen. Former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury will take over the program. Even should this somehow slow the Red Raisers down, they should have more than enough to defeat Minnesota. The Red Raiders are second in the nation in passing offense gaining 361.9 yards per game. QB Seth Doege completed 70.4% of his passes for 3934 yards and 38 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also has 14 interceptions. They are 86th in rushing offense (139.5 ypg). On defense, Texas Tech is 21st in the nation against the pass (195.8 ypg) and 71st against the run (171.4 ypg).

Tech’s strong passing game against Minnesota’s pathetic passing defense has resulted in Tech being a 13 point favorite. My pick: Texas Tech

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bowl Season Predictions, Part 6

Thursday is the beginning of a very, very busy several few days. There are three games on tap.

First up, at 3:00 PM, is the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C. It pits the #24 San Jose State Spartans (10-2) against the Bowling Green Falcons (8-4).

San Jose State’s two losses came in the first game of the season against Stanford 20-17 and early in October against Utah State 49-27. They averaged 37.9 points a game in their 10 victories and that was brought down by a 12-0 shutout over Navy and a 20-14 win over BYU. The Spartans strength is their passing offense, ranked 11th in the nation with 327.5 yards per game.  Their rushing offense isn’t nearly as good as they average just 124.2 ypg for a national rank of 102. Overall, the Spartans are 29th in the nation on the offensive side of the ball. They also are 28th in the nation on defense as they yield just 123.7 ypg rushing (20th) and 227.8 ypg through the air (49th). 

The Bowling Green Falcons’ defense is strong against both the run (116.7 ypg, 15th in the nation) and the pass (173 ypg, 6th in the nation). Overall, the Falcons have the 7th ranked defense in the nation. On offense, they aren’t nearly as good. Bowling Green is just 81st in the nation on offense. They gain just 157.4 ypg on the ground (65th) and 216.5 ypg through the air (77th).

Look for the Spartans to crack the Falcons pass defense and put up some points. They should also be able to stifle the Bowling Green offense.  My pick: San Jose State

The Belk Bowl kicks off at 6:30 PM in Charlotte, N.C. with the Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) facing the Duke Blue Devils (6-6).

Co-Big East Champion Cincinnati will enter this game with a new head coach scheduled to take over immediately afterward. Coach Butch Jones departed to take the helm at Tennessee. Tommy Tuberville comes over from Texas Tech to take over the Bearcats but he will not be on the sidelines for this one. Defensive line coach Steve Stripling is serving as interim coach. Cincinnati is ranked 42nd in the nation on both offense and defense. On offense, they average 199.8 ypg on the ground (32nd) and 231 ypg passing (62nd). On defense they yield 243.5 ypg through the air (69th) and 130.3 ypg rushing (27th). They’ve given up just 11.8 points per game in their last four games.

Cincinnati’s three losses came against Toledo (who finished the season 9-3), and co-Big East Champions Louisville (10-2) and Rutgers (9-3).  

Duke Has the nation’s #60 offense (118 ypg rushing (105th) and 277.6 ypg passing (32nd)) but they’ve got the nations 105th defense (200.7 ypg rushing (99th) and 262.3 ypg passing (94th)). The Blue Devils lost their last four regular season games yielding almost 50 points per game.

This looks like a good opportunity for Bearcats’ QB Brendon Kay—who took over for a struggling Munchie Legaux mid-season—and running back George Winn to post some big numbers. My pick: Cincinnati

Last on the day’s schedule, at 9:45 PM, for Thursday is the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, CA. The Baylor Bears (7-5) square off against #17 UCLA Bruins (9-4). 

The Baylor Bears have the nations #1 offense. They gain 225.5 ypg on the rushing (18th) and another 353.3 ypg passing (3rd).  So how come they have a record of just 7-5? Their defense stinks. Really, really stinks. They are ranked 122nd in the nation on defense. They yield 190.8 ypg on the ground (86th) and 323.1 ypg through the air (116th). Those numbers go a long way in explaining how they could lose games in which they scored 63 points (to West Virginia 70-63) and 50 points (to Texas 56-50). The Bears average nearly 48.6points per game in their victories. Heck, they average 37.8 points per game in their losses and have not scored less than 21 points in a game all year.

The UCLA Bruins are 30th in the nation on offense (202.9 ypg rushing (27th) and 271.6 ypg passing (36th)). Defensively, they are just so-so, however. Ranked 74th nationally they yield 154.5 ypg rushing (53rd) and 255.4 ypg passing (87th).  The Bruins had big wins over Nebraska, Oregon State, Arizona and USC but they dropped their regular season finale against Stanford and, a week later, the PAC-12 Championship to Stanford again.

UCLA didn’t face the high-powered Oregon Ducks this year.  They’re going to have a difficult time keeping up with the Baylor Bears. The question will be whether the Bears can keep the Bruins out of the endzone. I think they will make just enough stops. My pick: Baylor