Posts Tagged ‘NCAA Football’

USC QB Mark Sanchez

USC QB Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez announced today that he will forgo his senior year at USC and enter the NFL Draft. It seems fitting that this announcement came the day after fellow quarterback Sam Bradford announced his intentions to remain at Oklahoma next season.

Sanchez held the starting job at USC for only one season, but that 2008 campaign was spectacular. He finished the season with 34 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, leading USC to a Rose Bowl romp over Big 10 Champion Penn State. While his stats show a seasoned quarterback, the intangibles reveal a one-year starter with little experience.

This decision has two complete sides to it. On one hand, Mark Sanchez made a brilliant (while cowardly) decision to go pro. On the other hand, he made a risky decision that might cost him in the long run.

First I will address the strategic but manipulative motives behind this move. While Mark Sanchez may not be ready to play immediately in the NFL, there is little disagreement that he has the talent to play some day. Sanchez holds the classic quarterback stature, at 6′ 3″ 225lbs, and has shown highlights of his leadership capabilities. Despite these attributes, Mark Sanchez’s decision to go pro was only partially fueled by his physical capabilities.  Another factor in his decision was the composition of the 2009 NFL Draft Class. In 2008, there was a distinguished upper tier of college football quarterbacks. Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Tim Tebow were heralded as the best quarterbacks in the country and combined to earn a number of both conference and national honors. Some argued that Graham Harrell belonged in this group as well, h0wever he was left out as a Heisman finalist and rarely mentioned after Texas Tech’s mid-season descent from greatness. Towards the end of the NCAA football season Bradford, McCoy, and Tebow announced their intentions to return to school in the fall, drastically improving Mark Sanchez’s draft position. Also influencing Sanchez’s decision was the possibility of a future cap on NFL rookie contracts. 2008 draft pick Matt Ryan was signed to the largest rookie contract in history, forming much bitterness in the veteran corps of the NFL. The NFL Players Association is currently lobbying for a league measure to limit the salary of NFL players during their first two years in the league. Sanchez’s quarterback competition in the draft was falling apart, while his window of opportunity for a multi-million dollar contract was potentially closing. Based on his physical capabilities, as well as the NFL Draft climate and current contract negotiations, Mark Sanchez declared his eligibility for the 2009 NFL Draft.

"That Kid Is TOAST."

"That Kid Is TOAST."

While the decision makes sense right now, Sanchez might face consequences once he enters the NFL. His immediate gains are obvious. Mock drafts are projecting him as a late first round pick, and with much of his quarterback competition depleted, Sanchez has an excellent opportunity to excel in the combine. Additionally, if he is selected in the first round, he is nearly guaranteed a large contract (a guarantee which may not be present next year). That being said, Sanchez is taking a significant risk by passing on another season of development at the college level. Under Pete Carroll, USC has been a quarterback factory. Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and John David Booty were all NFL draft picks. However, all of them stayed at USC through their senior year before going pro. Carroll openly criticized the decision in a news conference tonight.

“The facts are so strong against this decision. After analyzing all the information, the truth is there — he should’ve stayed for another year. Mark’s chance to increase his value and become the top player in college football next year would have been worth $10-$20 million or more — likely more. One more year of running a team is almost priceless, so he lost the chance to fully prepare himself and become the very best he could be before going to the NFL. That’s why there’s a 62 percent failure rate for underclassmen quarterbacks.”

Only time will tell, but years down the road Sanchez might look back and wish he had spent one more season at USC to develop his quarterback skills.

This much is certain: no one wants to be the next Brian Brohm. Brohm was a projected top5 draft pick following his junior season at Louisville, but decided to return to school. He had a tumultuous senior year, resulting in a second round draft selection by Green Bay, and a third string spot on the roster (even behind Green Bay’s seventh round selection— LSU’s Matt Flynn). Sanchez has a chance to be a first round draft pick this year, and he is taking it.

No one can fault Mark Sanchez for wanting to play in the NFL. However his motives, decisions, and consequences will all be placed under scrutiny.


Read Full Post »

This was originally going to be a comment posted on a previous article. However, i ended up wasting too much time on it and decided to give it featured space.

When evaluating the strengths of major football conferences, one game cannot tell everything you need to know. in the wake of a Florida national championship, it has been widely accepted that the SEC established their dominance in college football this year. However, there are still dissenters to this conclusion (Anthony this isn’t aimed at you, I’m aware that you never held this opinion…publicly).

This Kid Understands

This Kid Understands

That being said, I believe that the SEC was a better conference than the big12 in every measure this year. Their play throughout the year and especially a stellar bowl season set them on a level above the Big12.

For further analysis, lets go hypothetical. Since this will never be determined on the field (with this years teams at least), we have to predict what would happen if the conferences squared off…

Lets say we lined up the SEC and the Big12 in a heads-up series, with each team facing their conference counterpart in terms of overall record. Here is the slate of games in reverse order of final standings:

Note: the rankings were determined on overall W-L percentage before bowl games. this allows teams that had a great season but took a bowl loss (e.g. Oklahoma) to maintain the position they held most of the year. additionally, a team may be moved up or down a position to match a team that they actually played in their bowl (e.g. tech v. ole miss)

Maxi-Tampon BowlBoise, ID

  • Iowa State (2-10) v. Mississippi State (4-8)

Great Value Douche Bag Bowl – Bentonville, AR

  • Baylor (4-8) v. Tennessee (5-7)

Trojan Rough-Riders BowlTampa, FL

  • Texas A&M (4-8) v. Arkansas (5-7)

Febreze BowlOklahoma City, OK

  • Kansas State (5-7) v. Auburn (5-7)

Oprah Magazine BowlPhoenix, AZ

  • Colorado (5-7) v. Vanderbilt (6-6)

Charmin Ultra-Soft BowlAtlanta, GA

  • Kansas (7-5) v. Kentucky (6-6)

Maxim.com BowlLas Vegas, NV

  • Nebraska (8-4) v. LSU (7-5)

Barack Obama BowlChicago, IL

  • Missouri (9-4) v. South Carolina (7-5)

Revenge of the Nerds Collector’s Edition DVD BowlMiami, FL

  • Oklahoma State (9-3) v. Georgia (9-3)

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia BowlSan Diego, CA

  • Texas Tech (11-1) v. Ole Miss (8-4) —SETTLED

Meineke Car Care BowlCharlotte, NC

  • Texas (11-1) v. Alabama (11-1)

Holiday Inn Express Tournament ChampionshipDallas, TX

  • Oklahoma (12-1) v. Florida (12-1) —SETTLED

My Scorecard: SEC Wins 9 Games – Mississippi State, Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn, Vanderbilt, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Florida. Big12 Wins 3 Games – Kansas, Missouri, Texas

Comment to criticize, react, and offer your own scorecards of how this series would play out.

Gotta love the hypotheticals…


    Read Full Post »

    Nic Harris tackles Percy Harvin

    Nic Harris tackles Percy Harvin

    Maybe Nic Harris was right. After watching the Oklahoma defense hopelessly try to catch up with Percy Harvin I am absolutely convinced that he spoke the truth about Oklahoma’s gameplan. When reporters asked Harris, a senior safety for Oklahoma, how  his defense planned to stop Florida scatback Percy Harvin, he explained, “As far as [the Oklahoma defense is] concerned, he is just another player.” Apparently the Oklahoma defense prepared for the BCS Championship Game with this in mind.

    Harvin finished the night with only 14 touches, but damned if he didn’t make them count. He totaled 171 yards of total offense (122 rushing, 42 receiving) and one touchdown.  To make matters worse, Harris drew considerable scrutiny for a fourth quarter tackle on (none other than) Percy Harvin. Instead of releasing Harvin once he hit on the ground, Harris pulled violently on Harvin’s legs, seemingly aggravating Harvin’s existing ankle injury. Not much came from the incident, but Harris’ motives are still unclear. Maybe it was unintentional because in his mind he was tackling “just another receiver.”

    Harris should consider a career as an NFL Defensive Coordinator… as long he sticks to his principles. Never forget that Peyton Manning is “just another quarterback,” Adrian Peterson is “just another running back,” and Brian Westbrook is a complete non-factor.

    Some day he might look back and laugh. Or not.



    Read Full Post »

    Florida LB Brandon Spikes

    Florida LB Brandon Spikes

    Does this statement sting a little? It sure does if you’re a fan of the team down in Norman.  After weeks of debating the final tally has been counted and although my opinion was wrong, the old adage rings true: defense wins championships.  After a year in which those of us in Big 12 country saw so many 50 point games like they were old hat, the crystal ball is awarded to the one team that could finally do what my mom likes to scream at the television during our beloved team’s defensive attempts… “stop somebody!”  And stop them the boys from Florida did.  14 points from what was and in all likelihood will still be heralded as the most potent offense in the history of college football.

    This isn’t an attempt to take anything away from the king of the swamp, but Mr. Tebow, who I believe ESPN covers enough that no other outlet should ever have to talk about, is not the main reason the folks down in Gainesville will be chomping until their arms fall off.  No, every knee should bow at the performance turned in by the defensive side of the team in orange and blue, led by All-American linebacker Brandon Spikes (pictured to the right).  14 points?  If I had been offered a bet of any size by my colleagues here at RTS I would have taken it in a heartbeat, thankfully one was not offered or I’d be trying to find someone to lend me a shirt, a kitchen sink… you get the picture.

    Finally a team showed up that could play man coverage on wide-outs without getting beat deep, a team that could blitz and not worry about the risk of the big play behind them, a group that could hit someone so bad their backup felt it, a team that… could play defense.  I love the Big 12, and, although after a poor bowl record might say otherwise, I still believe they were the best conference this year, but the best team resides down in the Sunshine State.  What a show from the defense, and what a well deserved title for the Gators.


    My apologies to Les Miles.

    Read Full Post »