Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's official - Ruffin named Texas Tech DC

It is with great pride that my 100th post is to announce that Ruffin McNeill has been named the new Defensive Coordinator for Texas Tech.

Ruffin McNeill has been hired full-time as Texas Tech's defensive coordinator after having that role on an interim basis for the last nine games of the 2007 season. Tech head coach Mike Leach made the announcement Tuesday night.
"He did just a tremendous job all season, and then we improved in every defensive category the eight weeks he was in charge,'' Leach said. "He's a great example and counselor to the players as well as putting things together on the run. I think he's the best defensive coordinator in the country, so we're very proud to have him in that capacity.''
McNeill was a charter member of the staff Leach put together after he was hired in December 1999. The Lumberton, N.C., native previously has been a defensive coordinator at Appalachian State and Nevada-Las Vegas.

10 Reasons to Hate the Patriots

Championship Weekend...ultra linkage edition

So I went 1 for 2 on my picks last weekend (which you never actually saw). However, if you care I can show you my Bodog record (wait...what forms of online betting are (il)legal in the US)...err I mean the bets that my fiance placed over the weekend at a legal gambling establishment. We took the Pats to cover (didn't happen)...BUT we also had the Giants with the over ($$) and better yet...she talked me into taking the Giants on the moneyline (Let the good Tynes roll)I swear that girl has ice in her veins...or beer. So all is well in my house this weekend and I can now afford her expensive habits for next weekend. Guess I'll have to bet on Tech vs A&M women's thump thump to pay for Super Bowl weekend.

All that said...I really like the Giants at +13.5 (though it's been as low as 10.5) but the line has settled (for now) at +12 according to Yahoo. I'll wait until game time to see what happens. As long as the rumors of Randy Moss not celebrating their AFC Championship don't blow up into a big non story (google Cowboys, Cabo, Mexico, Romo, Simpson for more info) and cause a distraction...I think it's safe to take the Pats to win this game. However, I really like the Giants to cover...but I'll get more into that next week.

And what the hell was Tom Brady doing taking flowers to Gisele yesterday??? In related news, why the hell does he have his leg in a boot??? Mysterious injury that could slow him down in SB XLII??? Better yet...was it psychological warfare with the evildoers from the NYC??? Just something else to keep an eye on.

Finally...here's to hoping that Brett Favre doesn't retire. I've always been a fan of him and the Packers (after all I was partly named after Packers HOF Guard Forrest Gregg) and I think it's safe to say that nobody wants to see him go out with an INT as his final pass.

Ok...that enough links for now...enjoy the photos and reading!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Updated Recruting Rankings (1/17/08 edition)

This is an update to my post from last week. A few teams moved into the Top 25 in one or both polls (see South Carolina) but since they weren't in the Top 25 of either poll last week, they were omitted from this poll as well. I'll fix that problem next year and keep the older rankings.

Also, I factored in a % change into the points to see if a school is gaining or not late in the season. The formula is now 72.5% stars, 22.5% points, 5% percent change in points from the previous week. The data also shows you what change, if any, occured from last week's rankings.

Here are the Top 10 + all Big 12 schools (last week in ()'s):

1. Notre Dame (3)
2. Oklahoma (2)
3. Ohio State (4)
4. USC (1)
5. Florida (5)
6. Alabama (8)
7. Michigan (6)
8. Florida St (7)
9. Georgia (9)
10. UCLA (10)

Other Big 12 Schools
11. Texas (11)
15. Texas A&M (16)
16. Colorado (13)
26. Texas Tech (26)
27. Oklahoma St (29)
28. Missouri (28)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not to bring back bad memories...

but this is the photo on Yahoo's college football page today.  They have an article (linked to Rivals) about Tommy Blake and his draft stock after a turbulent and mysterious senior year.

Crabtree expects an undefeated season in 2008

During tonight's Aggie beatdown (Tech up 19 with under 9 minutes to go) Michael Crabtree told ESPN's Holly Rowe, "I expect us to go far this year...I'm pushing everybody hard to get this thing going."

(On handling expectations next year) - It's always going to get better.  The team is just working to get through the undefeated season that we plan on next year.  We have a lot of high expectations on us for next season."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tech gets their 12th commit

(from scout.com)

Texas Tech landed a commitment Monday afternoon from 3 star athlete Cornelius Douglas out of Lawton, OK. The 5’9, 180 pound athlete made a visit to Lubbock this past weekend and liked what he saw so much that he decided Texas Tech was the place for him in less than 24 hours after returning home.

Now I can't link the videos that I've seen on this kid on Rivals...but rest assured that compare the vids of him at QB to Crabtree at QB two years ago and Douglas reminds me of Crabs.  His ability to make guys miss is going to be HUGE for Tech as an inside WR and kick/punt returner.   Additionally, his 4.4 speed will set him apart.  If he was 6'1" instead of 5'10" then he would definitely be a 4* recruit headiing to OU.  Tech added a great player that can come in and have an immediate impact for the Red Raiders.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NFL Division Round Preview, Giants vs Cowboys

Well we've got a great game on our hands in Indy right now.  LT out with a leg injury...Rivers having his best game of the year (14 of 19 and 3 TD's)...Manning has completed 26 of 29...but 2 of those passes were to the Chargers defense.  The crowd at the RCA Dome is AMAZING!!!  One can only hope that the crowd is anywhere near that at Texas Stadium at 3:30 today.  Now Philip Rivers is heading to the locker room with a leg injury...can it get any better???  Why yes it can...let's talk Cows and Giants.

New York Giants (11-6) +7.5 (-120) @ Dallas Cowboys (13-3)

How the Giants win:  Two things...Eli Manning and Tony Romo.  Manning has to be "better" than Romo today.  The Giants front 4 needs to pressure Romo early and often.  He's not Brady/Manning good...but give him time and he'll find Owens, Glenn, or Witten for big plays.  The Giants lead the league in sacks, but 23% of their sacks (12 of 53) came in one game vs the Eagles early in the season.  Take that game away, and their front four doesn't look quite as impressive.  They must keep Romo in the pocket and take away the deep ball.  In their 3 losses, he's had under 76.9 yds/attempt.  The other game in which he was under 6.9 was Buffalo...a game that the Cows should've lost.

Three Keys
 - Eli Manning needs to control the game.  With Shockey out for the season and Burress hobbled with a bad ankle, Eli must be patient and attack Roy Williams...err I mean the Cows secondary...when the opportunity presents itself.  Also, he can't make poor throws when under pressure.  A sack is better than an INT any day.
 - Brandon Jacobs and Co. need to wear down the Cowboys front seven.  Establishing an inside rushing attack will help keep Ware, Ellis, etc at home and buy time for Eli in the pocket.
 - Osi and Strahan have to get to Romo early!  The Cows go as Romo goes.  If he gets off to a good start then it's going to be a long day for the Giants defense.  Pressure him early and he is prone to making mistakes.

How the Cowboys win: As was posted yesterday, Marion Barber will be starting at running back for the first time in his Cowboys career.  TO is a question because of his high ankle sprain.  Tony Romo will be making his first playoff start at Texas Stadium (2nd game overall).  We've heard all week about Tony (and others) going to Mexico and been reminded of the bobbled snap in Seattly.  Am I worried?  Of course not.  The local talking heads are just stirring the pot and trying to boost ratings.  I'm confident that Tony is prepared for this game and will play a solid (if not great) game today.  Time to pump some sunshine into this one...

Three Keys 
 - Romo doesn't need to worry about forcing the ball to TO or Witten early.  The Giants are without Sam Madison and Kevin Dockery in the secondary so there should be plenty of opportunities for the Cows to take their shots downfield.  Take what you can get early and find out how much Terry Glenn can give you.
 - It's Marion Barber's time to shine today.  He's finally getting the starting nod that everybody has been waiting for...now he needs to make it worthwhile.  Here's to hoping that Jason Garrett doesn't forget about his Pro Bowl running back.
 - 64, 88, 45, 101, 63, 88, 32, and 117.  Those are the QB ratings of Eli Manning in the Giants 8 road wins since losing at Dallas to open the season.  He's not a mobile QB and is prone to making bad decisions.  Constant pressure should lead to multiple sackes and a few INT's.  Be opportunistic and make sure somebody is playing safety valve for Roy Williams.

Prediction: Barber gets 20 carries and 100 yards.  Romo starts a bit slow but doesn't make any huge mistakes.  Eli Manning picks apart the Cows secondary early but an injury to Roy Williams takes away the hole in the defense and the combo of Pat Watkins and Keith Davis eliminate the deep ball and force Eli into 2 INT's.  The Giants start the year in Dallas with a loss and will end the year in Dallas with a loss.  Bring on the Packers...

Dallas Cowboys 28
New York Giants 24

NFL Division Round Preview, Chargers vs Colts

Ok so yesterday was a mixed bag.  I was 2-0 outright but 0-2 vs the spread.  However, I take some solice in my "analytical skills" in that the teams that won were whom I picked to win...I just need to stay away from the sports book!

Btw...the Seahawks would've won yesterday had then given a few touches to Kim Zong Il (see above).  Kenny Mayne had an excellent piece on how the Seahawks failed to find a way to utilize Il's talents.  Now...on to today's early game...

San Diego Chargers (12-5) +11 @ Indianapolis Colts (13-3)

How the Chargers win: The tale of 2 teams.  After a 1-3 start, many were ready to run Norv Turner out of town.  Slowly but surely, they turned it around and they're clicking at the right time.  They've won their last 7 games by a margin of 17 points/game (28.5 ppg to 11.5 ppg).  If Antonio Gates is out (toe)...then it could be A LOOOONG day for the Chargers.

Three Keys:
 - Keep the ball in LT's hands.  He's going to need 25-30 touches for the Bolts to have a chance.  Keeping the Colts focused on him will buy extra time for Rivers on play action.
 - Spread the field in the passing game.  Rivers has a tendency to turn towards Antonio Gates (75 catches) and overlook his other recievers (96 catches for Top 3 WR's).  You don't need to throw it to 8 guys...but get the ball to Jackson and Chambers early.  This will allow you to have the Colts on their heels when you need a late score to win. 
 - Slow down Addai out of the backfield.  Everybody knows that the pass rush is very good and can frustrate Peyton Manning, but if you don't slow down Addai then you make it too easy on him to audible to a run.

How the Colts win:  I'm sure the Colts are very excited to have Marvin Harrison back.  This takes a lot of pressure off Wayne and will create plenty of opportunites for Peyton to do what he does best, spread the ball around and find the open man.  On defense, watch for Bob Sanders to shadow LT today.  Take him out of the game and you can all but assure a trip to Foxboro next week.

Three Keys:
 - Take what the Bolts are giving you.  Nobody is better than Peyton at presnap reads and making the proper adjustments.  You have enough talent to not have to rely on one facet of your offense to put up points.
 - Don't be afraid to sell out on defense on early downs.  Bring 7 guys at Rivers and make him audible to LT or a short pass.  This allows Bob Sanders to make plays in the open field around the LOS...which is where he excels.
 - Stick with what's working on special teams.  These rumors of putting starters out on special teams is ludicrous.  You have guys that have spent all season focusing on special teams...don't throw them under the bus now.  

Prediction:  LT gets boggled up early (20 touches, 1 TD, 90 total yards), Addai runs wild in the backfield (120+ total yards and 2 TD's), and Peyton (24-34 for 277 yds 2 TD's) is able to work Marvin Harrison (4 catches 50 yards) back into the offense.

Indianapolis Colts 34
San Diego Chargers 20

And with that...I leave you with Peyton Manning giving back to the United Way...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Marion Barber to start tomorrow

ESPN is reporting that Marion Barber will start at RB for the Cowboys tomorrow.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Why mess with the system that's worked well?  Of course everybody thinks of him as the starter...but it's a different mindset being the starter than coming off the bench.

Now back to figuring out why the hell I'm not getting the Pats/Jags in HD!!!

NFL Division Round Preview, Jaguars vs Patriots

Ok...so evidently the weather.com forecast was just a bit off.  They said winds of 5-10 mph with snow accumulations of under 1".  Oh well...the Packers are playing their best football at the right time.  Here's to hoping they're playing in Dallas next weekend!!!

Now onto tonight's game...

Jacksonville Jaguars (12-5) +13.5 @ New England Patriots (16-0)

How the Jags win:  Remember a few weeks ago when all we heard was that nobody wanted to play the Jaguars?  Some even thought that their running game would be the best challenge against the Patriots?  Well...that all changed last week once their defense was exposed by an under-manned Steelers squad.  While their offense mabe able to play keep away from the Pats, their defense is nothing more than a 4-man rush with an average secondary.  
Three Keys:
 - First off...they'll have to control the clock.  35+ minutes in time of posession.
 - Defensively, they'll need to keep the Patriots under 28 points.  The 3 "close games" they've had this year, only broke 28 once...and that was on a late 4th quarter TD against Philly.
 - Be opportunistic!!!  The Pats do turn it over some.  When they do you HAVE to turn it into points!!!

How the Pats win:  This might be the easiest preview I ever write.  When you're 16-0...you know what's working.  As long as you've prepared well (and we assume that they have) then it's all about execution.  Play your game, control the field, go home with a W.
Three Keys:
 - Mix the run with the pass.  This will keep the Jags D-line off balance and slow down their pass rush.
 - Don't turn the ball over.  Turnovers change the dynamic of the game and field position.  Force the Jags to go 80 yards to beat you.
- Get the ball to Wes Welker.  That's the Texas Tech plug of the weekend.  The more Welker gets the ball...the more the defense has to shift away from Randy Moss and this creates big play opportunities.  I think we'll all agree that the Tom Brady is pretty good in making big plays!

New England Patriots 37
Jacksonville Jaguars 23

NFL Division Round Preview, Seahawks vs Packers

Since I don't even want to talk about the bomb that Texas Tech is dropping against Okie Lite at the moment...I decided to appease the masses with a preview of the NFL games being played this weekend.  I'll come back later (or tmrw morning) with additional previews.  

Seattle (11-6) +7.5 (-105) @ Green Bay (13-3)

First off...the weather shouldn't be much of a factor.  Temperatures will drop into the mid-20's with about 1" of snow expected to fall.  Winds shouldn't get over 10mph or so.  

How Seattle wins: First off...they're going to have to discover a running game to have a chance in this one.  They're averaging 3.8 yds/carry and Sean Alexander giving you 41 ypg isn't going to get it done.  We all know that Hasselbeck can lead the team through the air but without the balance from the rushing game, it could be a long day.  The Seahawks defense is very opportunistic and will have to be so again today  if they're to slow down Green Bay.  
Three keys:
 - Rushing game can provide 20 carries and 80+ yards (4 ypg average)
 - Hasselbeck stays UNDER 36 attempts.  The Seahawks are 2-4 when he throws the ball more than 35 passes.
 - A positive turnover differential.  Seattle is 0-5 in games this year when they had a negative TO differential.

How Green Bay wins:  I forget what the exact number is for how Green Bay does when the temperature gets under 40...but it's a scary good number.  I believe that other than the Falcons win a few years back, the Pack hasn't lost a playoff game in "the Frozen Tundra."
Three keys:
- Brett Favre plays a controlled game.  If Favre gets wild throwing the ball, the INT's can pile up...quickly!!!
- Ryan Grant keeps doing what he's been doing.  This undrafted back out of Notre Dame is the league's 2nd leading rusher over the past 10 weeks. 
- Aaron Kampan and KGB can create consistent pressure from the edge.  Keep the running game between the tackles and allow Hawk and Barnett to make plays.  Likewise in the passing game as it takes pressure of Harris and Woodson.

Prediction: Favre throws for 220 and 2TD's and Ryan Grant breaks 100 yds again.  Sean Alexander never gets out of the starting block and Hasselbeck can only keep his team in the game for so long.  The Seahawks cover (barely) but can't the Pack moves on to the NFC Championship game.

Green Bay Packers 31
Seattle Seahawks 24

Friday, January 11, 2008

A deeper look into recruiting rankings

The following information is taken from the Rivals.com Recruiting information.  I think most of us on here will agree that the "Avg Stars" ranking (quality-based) is a more accurate ranking that the "Rivals Points" system (quantity-based). However, there is something to be said for bringing in a lot of commitments. 

I took a few minutes to put the two ranking systems up against each other...and then to create a "weighted average" in which I gave 75% weight to "Avg Stars" and 25% to "Rivals Points." Those weights are purely arbitrary and can of course be adjusted. There are 20 schools that were ranked in the Top 25 in both groups and 10 schools that were in the Top 25 in one of the groups. Below are the rankings under my weighted average along with their straight line average rank in ()'s. Info is current as of today and I'll try to update this once a week (probably on Tuesdays) after each weekend of January recruting visits.

1. Notre Dame (1)
2. USC (5)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Georgia (2)
5. Oklahoma (7)
6. Florida St (8)
7. Florida (8)
8. Alabama (6)
9. Michigan (11)
10. UCLA (9)
11. LSU (10)
12. Texas (12)
13. Auburn (14)
14. Miami (13)
15. Pitt (16)
16. Colorado (17)
17. Texas A&M (15)
18. California (21) 
19. Va Tech (18)
20. Oregon (22)
21. Clemson (19)
22. Penn State (23)
23. UNC (29)
24. Illinois (20)
25. Maryland (25) 
26. Texas Tech (30)
27. Arizona (24)
28. Missouri (26)
29. Oklahoma St (27)
30. Minnesota (28)

I hope this makes some sense. If you have any suggestions on changes I should make to the weights given to each ranking then please share them as I'm always open to new ideas. Here is the data I used.

Tulsa backs out on game with Texas Tech in 08

The Tulsa World is reporting that the Tulsa Hurricanes will play Arkansas in 2008 instead of Texas Tech.  No word on whom Texas Tech will schedule as a replacement.

I must say...this is absolute crap on Tulsa's part.  I just hope we don't end up scheduling a 1-AA team instead.  Oh well...I guess it's fitting that they're going to be playing that quitter Patrino.

Ohio State...BCS BANNED!!!

ESPN's Pat Forde ripped the Buckeyes the other day. He was very blunt about the fact that they do NOT belong in the BCS MNC game again next year.

If you've ever seen lions maul a water buffalo, you've seen the last two title games. You've seen a fierce pair of SEC teams -- Florida last year, LSU this year -- blow the vulnerable Buckeyes back to the Bratwurst Belt by a combined 41 points. You've seen the best of one league flex, and the best of an inferior league collapse.

You can't help but agree with his reasoning. They were outmanned, outcoached, and didn't know what to do once they got hit in the mouth. We as fans suffered through it last year...and then were AGAIN subjected to 50+ days of ESPN nonsense about how this year the Buckeyes could matchup with LSU. I would love to be a fly on the wall in their production meetings for College Football Live leading up to the MNC game. Even Herbie wasn't too giddy about his alma mater's chances. Fortunately, he was calling the game for ESPN Radio and was able to use that as his "excuse" to avoid having to make many strong statements regarding the outcome of the game.

Long and short...the BCS exec committee needs to get together and amend their agreement to state the following:

As long as Ohio State continues to avoid playing other top BCS schools in non-conference (this does look to be changing as they go to USC in 2008) and dominate in a dismal Big 10 with an antiquated offense, then they are no longer allowed to play in the BCS Championship game. To gain reinstatement, they must demonstrate the ability to come from behind, overcome adversity, and run an offense scheme derived since 1980.

Ohio State is nothing but the bully of the Big 10. They intimidate undermatched teams (scheduling a 1-AA school EVERY year and then half of the Big 10) and then shy away whenever they go up against a program of equal talent. In most games, their superior talent overcomes poor scheming, coaching, and preperation...but once they run up against a team that is their equal, they wilt faster than a bluebonnet by Memorial Day. Think about it. What "big wins" do they have in the past few years?
They've beaten Michigan the past few years, and then the Wolverines went out and were soundly defeated in their bowl game by another BCS team...so you have discount Michigan's ranking IMO. Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl??? I think it's safe to say that Notre Dame had no business being in a BCS bowl...but the hype around Weiss and Quinn elevated them in the rankings. Their win in Austin last year vs a UT team running out Colt McCoy in only his 2nd start...was it THAT impressive??? Other than their wins over Michigan, I can't find any game in recent memory that they won where they were either the underdog or "equal" to their opponent.

They are tied with USC for the best record over the past 5 years or so. They do a good job winning virtually all of the games they're supposed to win. That's what a great program does. However, I just can't put them in the elite category until they win a big game or two...and to do that they need to make some significant changes in their program. Rich Rodriguez is going to make the necessary changes at Michigan...but if the Buckeyes aren't able to modernize their offense and develop mental toughness, their "success" (if you can call it that) will soon go by the wayside.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This deserves its own post...

Something that should be pointed out to WR recruits

when thinking they have to go to a big name school to have a chance in the NFL:

1. Jerry Rice...Mississippi Valley St
3. Issac Bruce...Memphis
4. James Lofton...Stanford
5. Marvin Harrison...Syracuse
7. Henry Ellard...Fresno St
8. Andre Reed...Kutztown College
9. Steve Largent...Tulsa
10. Terrell Owens...Tenn-Chattanooga

- 8 of the Top 10 All-Time NFL Receivers (by receiving yards) didn't play at big name programs. The two exceptions are Tim Brown (Notre Dame) and Cris Carter (Ohio State).
- 6 of them were drafted in the first 2 rounds, 1 in the 3rd and 3 in the 4th round.

Unlike at many other positions, teams do not hesitate to take WR's from smaller schools. The best receivers in the game will get drafted in the first few rounds...regardless of what school they played at. It's all about demonstrating your abilities in college and getting your game ready for the next level. Are you better suited to do that in a system where you can catch 100+ balls per year or 50 balls per year???

Back in a bit with some mid-week musings and a bit of Cows talk...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

What will you be happy with in 2008???

Here's the offer...I'll give you the following result for Texas Tech in 2008:

vs Tulsa - Win (1-0)
@ Nevada - Win (2-0)
vs SMU - Win (3-0)
vs UMass - Win (4-0)
@ KState - Loss (4-1, 0-1)
vs Nebraska - Win (5-1, 1-1)
@ Texas A&M - Win (6-1, 2-1)
@ Kansas - Loss (6-2, 2-2)
vs Texas - Win (7-2, 3-2)
vs Oklahoma State - Win (8-2, 4-2)
@ Oklahoma - Loss (8-3 4-3)
vs Baylor - Win (9-3, 5-3)

Dec ?? - Holiday Bowl vs Pac 10 #2

Would you consider this an "acceptable" result? Consider only what we know about current HS commits and the addition of Dixon and Sesay. DO assume that Ruffin is brought back as DC but DO NOT assume that we're able to sign any stud WR's (Jones, Walker, Brown, Wright) in this recruiting class.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Texas Tech and other New Years Day Picks

Greetings from the W Dallas this morning.  This time last year, I was on a blind date to the Cotton Bowl with the girl that is now my fiance.  A year later we find ourselves sitting in our hotel room staring at the "carnage" (actually it's pretty clean) left from hosting 30+ people here last night.  Somehow we survived...everybody that could got home safely...and we only had 1 broken champagne glass.  Can't ask for a better evening! :) 

Gator Bowl (Texas Tech vs Virginia) - If you're reading this blog then you know which way this pick is going.  I don't mind going against Tech if we're definitely not the superior team, but in a game such as this I think it comes down to matchups.  Tech is far superior offensively while Virginia has a better run defense and a great edge rusher in Chris Long.  For a more detailed breakdown by player...check out this work from Seth over at DTN.  It gives you great statistical info on the players we'll see out there for both teams today.  Ok...gotta speed up my writing a bit.

Texas Tech 38
Virginia 27

Outback Bowl (Tennessee vs Wisconsin) - Tennessee played well in their last outing vs LSU.  Anybody that can force LSU to play their game is doing something right.  That said, Phil Fulmer is still their coach so count on a few stupid in-game decisions.  Wisconsin has underachieved (by Vegas standards at least) all season long.  Playing the Fulmer card...give me the Badgers.

Wisconsin 24
Tennessee 16

Cotton Bowl (Arkansas vs Mizzou) - I'm really looking forward to this game...or at least until about 12PM when I'll switch to the Gator Bowl.  McFadden will play (it was never in question IMO) and Mizzou has a chance to rebound from the beating they received from OU.  Given all the hype about offense, I think this one will stay fairly low scoring.  A 10:30 start isn't something teams in the Big 12 and SEC are used to...so rust will be heavy for at least a quarter.

Mizzou 20
Arkansas 17 

Capital One Bowl (Michigan vs Florida) - Poor Michigan.  They're playing Lloyd Carr's last game vs an extremely talented (and young) Florida team looking to gain momentum heading into 2008.  Tebow is out to prove that the Heisman wasn't a fluke for him and this is his first chance to prove himself.  However, I like Lloyd Carr...so let's send him out a winner!

Michigan 27
Florida 24

Rose Bowl (USC vs Illinois) - USC...USC...USC.  Hmm...any wonder where I'm going with this pick?  Illinois has some nice, young talent with Juice Williams and stud freshman Arrelious Benn.  But yeah...their talent is just nice and not exactly prime time material.  USC's 2nd and 3rd string guys could start at almost every position in Champaign.  Throw in that the Rose Bowl is all but a home game for the Trojans (and Pasadena may very well be their new home stadium VERY soon)...it's hard to give the Illini much of a chance in this one.

USC 41
Illinois 24

Sugar Bowl (Hawaii vs Georgia) - Hawaii can score...and score a lot.  However, they have absolutely no defense and it should be exposed by Georgia.  The only way they win this game is if Georgia doesn't care and throws up a dud in the first half.  The Warriors aren't known for playing well on the mainland (see OT win vs San Jose St for recent evidence) either and New Orleans is a LOOONG way from Honolulu.

Georgia 49
Hawaii 38

Sorry it took so long to get these posted...enjoy!!!