Kevin Lewis is a retired NFL linebacker.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bowl 11’

Let's be honest, no one cares about most of these bowl games. Think about it, the only games that are pre-determined are the BCS games. After those, every other game is chosen by the bowls themselves. So, let's evaluate the games that we'll be sitting down in front of the TV begging for some man time to watch.

Oregon vs Auburn…Two words for this game, Cam Newton! He's dynamic, he's versatile, and he's a winner. After Cam, there's Nick Farley and no one else. Auburn can't stop the run or the pass. They haven't stopped anyone with their defense all year unless you would like to count Louisiana –Monroe and Chattanooga who still put up 24pts. Fear the Duck. Oregon features an offense that runs each play in 23 seconds. This is as fast as the two minute offense teams run near the end of a half or game. Oregon is finding this much success on an offense run by their backup QB. Yep, Darren Thomas was Jeremiah Masoli's backup before the season started. All Thomas has done is become the 3rd best player in the Pac 10 behind his teammate LaMichael James and Andrew Luck. James is lightning in a bottle but runs tougher and harder than he looks. Oregon will win, but if Auburn spot's the Duck 24 pts like they did Bama, this will be a blowout.

Bama vs. Michigan ST will be a tough fought game predicated on the big play. Who will make or miss them is the question. Bama has already lost to their rivals and will be looking to regain a swagger that seems to be leaving. Michigan State is trying to prove that this season wasn't a fluke. Cousins will lead a pass happy offense who has found nine receivers over a 100 yards. Bama features a Heisman winner and future All-Pros. But maybe, just maybe Bama has turned into Mike Tyson when Holyfield beat him. Maybe the plans have been drawn to Bama. Nick Saban will be prepared as ever to win but it probably time for Nick to stop turning athletes into safties and wideouts and allow them to play QB. Michigan St will win this game because no one is afraid of Alabama any more….roll tide.

Ohio St vs Arkansas… Okay, I got a free Buckeye tattoo as well but I still charged them for my autograph. Tattoo-Gate or the NCAA finding out that several Ohio State players trading autographs for tattoos has led to a 2011 five game suspension. None of this will have any effect on this bowl game. As a matter of fact, this game will have a higher viewership rating than the national championship game. This game will come down to balance. Arkansas has a high powered offense behind the big arm of Ryan Mallet. The Razorbacks defense has shown the ability to give up the big play. Ryan Mallet has made huge mistakes in their biggest games of the year. The Buckeyes are solid on offense, defense and special teams. Because of this, the Buckeyes will be victorious and finish ranked #3 in the country after this game.


Wisconsin vs. TCU… TCU has another chance to add to their undefeated season. The Badgers are ready to prove they aren't just the red headed step child to the usual Big 10 powerhouses. The Horn Frogs feature a high octane offense that can score with the best of them. Their defense is solid and dedicated to rushing the passer and stopping the run. The Badger offense will run, run, pass, and then run some more. Defensively, the Badgers are strong and feature NFL prospects at half of their starters. This will be a close game but Wisconsin will win.

And, the rest of them.. LSU vs Texas A&M… Name three players for either team in this game. Still waiting….. Now you see why this game isn't important. A&M wins.

UCONN vs. Oklahoma seems like a second round matchup in the NCAA tourney. It's not, it's football and that means the Sooners will put up a basketball score on the Huskies.

Stanford vs. VaTech should have been a huge game. The problem is that none believes the Pac 10 is any good. Stanford will blowout VaTech but it will go unnoticed because the Hookies also lost to James Madison.



Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Now or Never

The NFL regular season is winding down and the New Year is almost here. No not the welcoming of 2011, instead Happy New NFL playoffs. Unlike our New Year ’s Eve plans, the NFL playoffs are yet to be determined. With only two games left in the season, teams are still fighting for playoff berth and positioning. Last year the heavy frontrunners had already been decided, the Saints and Colts shut it down and played all backups to ensure the health of their starters. This year , The only clear cut #1 seed is the Atlanta Falcons. Matt Ryan, Roddy Roddy White, Michael Turner and the crew have been solid. They’ve won games the old-fashioned way, good defense, good special teams and great offense. In the AFC the Steeler’s and New England will have a photo finish to capture their #1 seed. Regardless, both will get a buy and due to both teams playing outside in the elements, home field advantage throughout shouldn’t make that big of a difference. The Pats have won games with Tom Brady’s arm and a renewed spirit of takeaways displayed by a young defense. Pittsburgh on the other hand, has won games the same way they always have. Great D, Great D, and more Great D! Regardless of the late fall by the J-E-T-S, their early season success has ensured them of a playoff spot. Go Chargers go, may as well be the chant because they’re doing it again. They are making a late December push that will not only allow them to win a very weak division, but it will also secure them a slot in the playoffs. Baltimore has some work ahead of them. They have to get QB Joe Flacco up to speed about the urgency of now. He is the only thing that stands between them and a second Superbowl ring. The Ravens will show up in the playoffs. The only question is, will Flacco be joining them. The Indianapolis Colts “aint what they used to be…aint what they used to be…aint what they used to be.” They still have Peyton Manning and because of this and a furious pass rush, they’ll be in the playoffs. The Saints will earn a buy in week one, and seem to be getting into Superbowl form. The Packers will win the division, thanks to a late year skid by the Bears due to three or four more interceptions thrown by Jay Cutler. The Giants are playing well at the right time but there, league leading turnover problem will be their demise in round one. Philly and Mike Vick are very dangerous and will create plenty of problems for their opposition’s defense. But Eagles also have their own defensive issues and will probably end up winning one game and then losing because of it. The Rams are back! Just kidding, they are back in the playoffs, even though they’re in the worst division in football.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Urban did the right thing.

Coaching has long been a stressful job. Coaching has always been filled with the ideology that says, out work your opponents. In coaching,
that language means spend more hours in the office than your opponents and your coworkers. The idea that working long means working hard in the coaching ranks has been going on for years. Many have given this credit to long time NFL coaches George Allen and Sid Gillman who believed, "Every time you win, you're reborn; when you lose, you die a little." Like everything else in the NFL, this attitude filtered down to the college ranks. As college coaching salaries continue to increase, the time dedicated to these jobs multiplies. College coaches have a little more added pressure; they have to recruit talented players without paying them… College coaches first job is recruiting. If you can't recruit, you will find it hard being a collegiate coach. Collegiate players in any sport will tell you they each had a coach on their staff that couldn't coach. They always wondered how in the world he/she was able to have their job only to find out that most of their best players came to the University as a result of that particular coach. While coaches are game planning for an opponent, they're recruiting. When a coach is on a game trip, they're recruiting. When coaches are on vacation, they're recruiting. Coaches are always recruiting! Due to this 24 hour recruiting cycle, coaches families suffer. Some have even said, people who coach don't like they're families. Urban Meyer is trying to give the coaching profession a better name by giving up millions in order to be a better husband and father. Many believe that the 30 arrest during his tenure, or the fact that he can see looming disaster in the Gator program up ahead as factors in his resignation. But, you have to respect a man who believes that his family is much more important than winning another sears crystal football. I've had the opportunity to play with several coaches kids and a lot of times they are in the same position as kids from single parent households. They weren't able to see their dads in the stadium. They even found it hard at times to get help from them in the same sport they were coaching.
Coaches and their own personal health has suffered as a result of the job. Coaches have fainted during and after games and also have had heart attacks. The price paid by coaches families can be high. Coaches have dealt with suicides and seen kids going to prison right before their eyes and never knew what had happened. Urban Meyer doesn't want to fall into this statistic and would much rather be called dad right now. The hours that take coaches away from the home can sometimes blind them to the most important coaching job in their life, coaching their family.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Who watches the Heisman anyway?

“At its inception, the Heisman trophy was supposed to go to the best overall player in college football regardless of their position or rather or not their team was playing for a national title.” But we all know that isn’t the case. Somewhere the Heisman has lost its way. Was it when Jerry Rice finished 9th in voting behind winner Doug Flutie. Or how about the multi positioned, most electrifying Deion Sanders finishing 8th behind Barry Sanders. It just had to be when Gino Toretta beat out both Marshall Fualk and Garrison Hearst. The Heisman has been a joke for far too long as we pretend every year the voters got it right. This year the Heisman may go to Kellen Moore or Andrew Luck. Luck will be a prototypical NFL drop back QB, More on the other hand is a sympathetic pick by many because of Boise States alleged misfortunes of being a small guy playing in an automatic BCS bids world. Heck, why isn’t Denard Robinson in the Heisman race anymore. That’s a different conversation. Whether Cam Newton had lost 1 game or 2, it still wouldn’t change the fact that he’s the best player in college football. Cam Newton is 6’5 and 250 pounds of GROWN MAN. He looks as if he’s playing a video game while he’s playing. If he needs a first down he breaks a couple of tackles and gets it. If he needs a touchdown, he throws it down the field and nails it. Newton’s numbers are off the chart. He’s top ten in every offensive category except passing yards. Auburn is a five win team at best without Cam Newton being on the field. To hear voters publicly state they won’t vote for Cam Newton but will still vote for the Heisman is disgusting. At least he’s the best player on his team. The same voters voted for Matt Leinhart , when he might have been the 8th best player on the USC roster. Cam Newton has been exceptional. For you Heisman voter’s, he’s shown Roger Staubach type accuracy, Archie Griffin like vision, Earl Campbell’s bruising power, Charlie Wards leadership, and yes by evidenced in the comeback victories over Clemson, South Carolina and especially Alabama he possesses Tim Tebows undeniable will to win. The Heisman has lost its luster under a regime of cynical agenda driven voters. In order for kids to start growing up dreaming to win the Heisman trophy again, voters need to go back to the Heisman’s intentions. Reward the best overall player in college football.