USA Today Coaches Poll First Impressions

August 4, 2011

The USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll came out today. You can view the entire top 25 here. 

Typically, I’m not a fan of pre-season rankings and think there shouldn’t be any rankings released until October 1, you know, after we’ve actually SEEN teams play and can make INFORMED judgements.  Below are some initial thoughts on the poll.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts below in the comments section or find me on Twitter @TracktheBet


SEC Teams a bit too high

Now, no one is debating that the SEC isn’t the best conference, because it is.  But some of these teams either need to be lower or not on the list at all.  #4 LSU seems about 10 spots too high. Tigers finished last year #8 and lost their best defensive player, have a MUCH more difficult schedule and still have Jordan Jefferson and his 7/10 TD/INT ratio as the QB.  Also, Auburn, Georgia & Florida ranked at all? This is baffling. Auburn, while coming off a dream season, returns a total number of starters that I can count on one hand & will play a top 10 schedule. Georgia, coming off an unimpressive 6-7 season, loses its only deep threat at WR in AJ Green and has major depth issues at the RB and OL positions. While Florida, returning a total of 9 starters (including a mere 3 on defense), is changing schemes on both sides of the ball. Now, I’m not saying these teams couldn’t potentially make the top 25, but to include them in the pre-season seems a bit ridiculous.


Texas?  Texas?

I assume the pundits at ESPN were allowed to vote online for this one?  This might be the first time a team finished under .500 in the Regular Season the year before and is ranked the following pre-season.  The Longhorns only return 10 starters (including 4 on offense and 2 on the OL), and while the talent is still there, why on Earth are we assuming Texas is going to rebound to 8 or 9 wins?  The schedule isn’t that easy, there’s a new defensive scheme and a new offensive coordinator and, oh yea, they won 5 games last year.  Just mind-boggling.


Too High Teams

  • Stanford: Even with Luck returning. Losing Harbaugh and those major players off the OL might drag the Cardinal down to the teens
  • Florida State: All the talent in the world.  I’ll believe the top 5 ranking when I see it
  •  Oklahoma State: A top 10 ranking basically means 10-2 or better. Vegas has OSU’s season win total at 8. I’ll let you decide which outlet to believe


Too Low Teams

  • Wisconsin: With the addition of Russel Wilson and his surrounding cast, think 10-2 or better is a good possibility
  • Virginia Tech: Not because of the returning talent (not that much), but because the schedule is just so darn easy
  • West Virginia: Not ranked? You saw what Dana Holgorsen did at Oklahoma State. WVU should run away with the Big East title and into the top 25

B1G Legends Predictions and Situations

August 2, 2011

College Football is now just 30 days away.  Below is my take on the Big Ten Legends Division and some play against situations for each team.

As always, for all my picks for the upcoming season, visit


  1. Michigan State 9-3 (6-2)
  2. Nebraska 8-4 (5-3)
  3. Northwestern 7-5 (4-4)
  4. Iowa 7-5 (4-4)
  5. Michigan 5-7 (2-6)
  6. Minnesota 4-8 (1-7)

Michigan State- Returns the majority of skill position players including three year starter at QB. Offensive line & Linebacker are the two question marks. If the O-line comes together nicely, Sparty has chance to win division & conference.

Play Against: @Nebraska- Not just because MSU has trouble winning big games on the road, but this comes after back-to-back home games vs. rival Michigan and Wisconsin.


Nebraska- Defense should be very solid and could very well steal a few games. I’m just not sold on the offense yet. We saw what effect bringing in a spread offense with heavy focus on the run did with Michigan once conference play play hit; not sure it’s going to have the same success like it did against the typically weak B12 defenses. Think Nebraska will be good, but schedule is really hard.

Play Against: @Wisconsin- Huskers should be 4-0 heading into this one. First B1G game, on the road, at night, not sure Nebraska stands a chance here. Hoping Badgers are 3-4 pt favorites as they should also be 4-0.


Northwestern- People tend to forget the Wildcats were really good last year before Persa (their entire offense) got hurt. If he is 100% this year, I like this team a lot. They were 7-3 before the Persa injury, and then went into the tank, losing three straight to end the year. They also gave up big leads to MSU & PSU last year and don’t have to play tOSU or Wisconsin.

Play Against: @Iowa- Cats are not the same team on the road as they are at home. Iowa, even though only 9 starters return, want payback for last year. Penn State also on deck where Northwestern blew a 21-0 lead last season, and might be caught looking ahead a bit.


Iowa- Hawkeyes should be under the radar with only 9 starters returning from last year’s team. Non-conf schedule could be tricky traveling to Iowa State and hosting Pitt in back-to-back weeks, but B10 schedule sets up nicely. There’s also no Ohio State or Wisconsin.

Play Against: @Purdue- Think the Boilers will be much better than anticipated. Game comes after @Minnesota (where Iowa lost last year), UM, MSU stretch and before Friday after Thanksgiving showdown with new rival Nebraska. Might be emotionally drained; hoping for 7+


Michigan- Hoke is a good coach and will probably turn around this program, but not this year. UM has a spread QB under center, no proven RBs, perhaps down to two good WRs, a defense that’s still a wreck and no kicker, not to mention changing schemes on both sides of the ball; think a less severe version of Rich Rod’s first season.

Play Against: vs. ND- Game of the Year lines posted at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas currently have ND pegged as a 3 point favorite. First night game at UM plus recent success against the Irish should help this line stay near a pick ‘em. UM faithful will load up on what Hoke has preached/delivered with recruiting, but the Irish just a better team on both sides of the ball in second year of Brian Kelly’s system.


Minnesota- This team isn’t very good, though I do like the Jerry Kill hire. Gray will be decent at home and in the non-conference, but otherwise, this team won’t be anything special.

Play Against: Hard to pick just one game I’ll be fading the Gophers, so let’s just say every conference road game and verse Miami, OH early in the year.

B1G Leaders Predictions and Situations

August 1, 2011

College Football is now just 31 days away.  Woo!!  That said, I’ll be posting my breakdowns of the BCS conferences over the next couple of weeks.  And as always, for all my picks for the upcoming season, visit


B1G Leaders Division

1. Wisconsin 10-2 (6-2)
2. Ohio State 9-3 (6-2)
3. Penn State 8-4 (5-3)
4. Illinois 8-4 (4-4)
5. Purdue 7-5 (4-4)
6. Indiana 4-8 (1-7)

Wisconsin- With Russell Wilson think this is the team to beat in the B1G- he brings a running dynamic that you typically don’t have to worry about with other Wisky teams. Wisconsin, of course, will have solid RBs and OL play. Defense should be pretty good as well.

Play Against: vs. Purdue- I know this is a home game for the Badgers, but coming off b2b weeks @MSU and @OSU, not sure how much is left in the tank. Purdue should be catching double digits here.


Ohio State- Even without Pryor and the other tat 4, this team is still very talented, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Schedule isn’t THAT hard.. @Miami & MSU before the other suspended players get back- @Neb when they do. Should be decent, but hard to predict the mindset of this team.

Play Against: Couple to choose from, but I’ll go @ Nebraska- have to figure the Huskers will be fired up to play their first b10 home game and that might be on the heels of the whole nation seeing Wisconsin dominate Nebraska- so public stock in Husker nation might be low.


Penn State- This team needs to get its QB situation figured out, and then deal with a rebuilding OL and DL. Final 5 games are brutal: @Northwestern, Illinois, Neb, @OSU, @Wisconsin. PSU also plays Alabama, so if these issues aren’t figured out, PSU might be in some trouble.

Play Against: @Northwestern- Wildcats blew 21-0 lead in Happy Valley LY and I’m sure they want payback. Illini also on deck for PSU who embarrassed the Nittany Lions 33-13 in their own backyard.


Illinois-Illini have the ability to be sneaky good this yr. Love the QB- but need to find a workhorse RB and the ability to threaten* to throw the ball (111th in Pass LY). Defense should be decent, but also benefited from a +8 in TO margin. Schedule not hard either. Tricky October might be the difference (OSU, @Purdue, @PSU).

Play Against: @Purdue or @PSU- think the home game vs. OSU will be very telling as Illinois could be 7-0 if they take down the Buckeyes. Have to think facing those 2 teams back to back, on the road, both with revenge will be too much for Illini & Zook to handle.


Purdue- My sleeper from the B10. Team was decimated with injuries LY. Marve & Henry good 1/2 QB combo to keep D’s honest & RB Bolden comes back from ACL injury along with basically the entire OL. D will miss Kerrigan, but 9 starters are back including entire secondary, though they will have to improve on that 85th ranked pass D.

Play Against: Going to switch it up and say Play On Purdue vs. ND- Irish coming off monster 3 game stretch, @UM (at night), MSU (rival), Pitt (always play tough), along with Air Force on deck for the Irish, think if Boilers catching 6 or so, will be worth a play.


Indiana- The bottom of the B10 this year- breaking in new QB, only 9 total starters returning, nothing really to get excited about.

Play Against: vs. Virginia- Tricky early game for the Hoosiers- Cavs return 15 starters, including most at the skill position and 4 OL. I really like the direction Mike London has this team going and it would not surprise me to see the Cavs get the outright win here.

Some College Football Regular Season Win Totals

July 26, 2011

College Football is right around the corner.  As I type this, actually, we’re just a mere 36 days and some change away until kick-off.

The Hilton in Vegas just released some College Football Regular Season Win totals. The entire list can be found here.  Below are a couple Overs I find appealing and some Unders that will put coin, or potentially multiple coins, in your pocket.

Agree?  Disagree?  Feel free to let me know your opinion…

Overs I like

Tennessee Over 6.5
There are some issues along the defensive front 7 (only return one starter), but I like the direction Dooley is taking the Vols.  Schedule is pretty manageable too. Wins vs. Montana, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Middle Tennessee and Vandy seem certain. @Kentucky also looks good. Meaning for this bet to hit, Tennessee only has to take down 1 of the following: @Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina or @Arkansas.  Seem very doable. I expect QB Tyler Bray to have a big year and lead the Volunteers to 7 or even 8 wins. Take Tennessee OVER 6.5.

Michigan State Over 7.5
Even though a repeat of the 11-2 dream season isn’t likely, MSU returns a 3rd year starter at QB, all three RBs who contributed in 2010, plus a good amount of talented WRs. The defense should be strong on the DL and in the secondary as well.  The overall schedule is not too easy, but there are enough winnable games where MSU should get to 9 wins or so.  The difficult games I see- @ND, @OSU, UM, Wisconsin, @Nebraska, @Iowa and @Northwestern.  From that list, I see, at worst 3-4 and at best 5-2.  Even at the worse case scenerio, those 3 wins + wins over Youngstown State, FAU, CMU, Minny and Indiana will get them to 8 wins and the cover.  Take the Spartans OVER 7.5.

Unders I like

Oklahoma State Under 8.5
It was a dream season for the Pokies last year.  Gone is offensive guru Dana Holgorsen, but back is QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon, so all should be well, right?  WRONG!  Okie State had a very easy and manageable schedule last year, including only facing one team on the road that finished above .500.  This year, the Cowboys play: @Tulsa, @Texas A&M, @Texas, @Missouri,@Texas Tech, plus Oklahoma, who has just owned them as of late, and Arizona in the non-conference. That is just too difficult a schedule for OSU to come close to its 11 wins last year, especially with a defense that only returns 6 starters that underwhelmed in just about every game in 2010.  Play the Pokies UNDER 8.5 as they should get to a max of 8 wins.

LSU Under 9.5
Another team that was filled with smoke and mirrors in 2010.  LSU did win 11 games last year (10 in the Regular Season), but if we go game by game, the Tigers could of easily won 6 or 7.  They needed a goal-line stand to beat UNC, a late punt return by Patrick Peterson (their do-everything special teams guy + best defensive player who’s now in the NFL) to beat WVU, two goal line runs to beat Tennessee, a fake FG to beat Florida, and a 20 point 4th quarter effort to take care of Ole Miss.  So again, this team was very lucky to win as many games as they did.  Add in a MUCH harder schedule in 2011, vs. Oregon, @Miss State, @WVU, @Tenn, @Alabama, @Ole Miss, plus Arkansas, Florida and Auburn and it seems highly unlikely LSU will come close to repeat its 2010 success.  Take LSU UNDER 9.5 as the Tigers could finish 3rd or 4th in the SEC West.