Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bowl Season Analysis, BCS Title Game Prediction, and NFL Playoff Hoopla

Must say this past week had all the ups and downs the sport of football can have. First, I would like to touch upon the NFL playoffs. I am amazed when you get right down to it how down right lousy I am at predicting the winners in football games. Now I do consider myself a knowledgeable person about the sport of football, but man, I can't predict worth a darn!

This past weekend I went 1-3. I predicted the Atlanta Falcons beating the Arizona Cardinals by two touchdowns. As we all know, Arizona won that one by six. Then, I had the Indianapolis Colts beating the San Diego Chargers right at the end. I was close, but not close enough as San Diego prevailed 23-17 in overtime. And finally, I predicted a seven point win for the Baltimore Ravens against the Miami Dolphins. Never did I imagine Baltimore would straight up manhandle the Dolphins.

But there is one bright spot! The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-14, I predicted 27-17! Right on the money if you ask me.

Anyway onto this week...

The Arizona Cardinals impressed everyone with their win against the Atlanta Falcons. To the shock of the world this Arizona team woke up at the right moment. Sure they stopped Michael Turner, but I don't think the same success will occur against Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers. Earlier this year Carolina won 27-23. I look for yet another close game that will ultimately be decided by a late game winning drive by Jake Delhomme and Co. Arizona will hang tough, but Coach John Fox's crew is on a mission.

Panthers 27-20

The Baltimore Ravens have a defense that is not over embellished at all. They are for real. The Ravens' D will have an even bigger task this week as they travel into Tennessee to go against a Titans team with an amazing rushing attack. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling and that rests with the Ravens. The Titans have a banged up line, which will only help that Baltimore running game. Look for this to be a heartbreaker for the Tennessee faithful.

Ravens 19-16

The San Diego Chargers have been playing five weeks of playoff football. Can the magic continue in Pittsburgh? Yes, Big Ben is banged up but you have to like this Pitt team playing home in the playoffs. Darren Sproles did well last week against Indy, but Indy's D isn't Pittsburgh's D. The cold is really a huge factor as well. Look, San Diego will be fit and ready to play in the cold, but I just get this feeling that for the Steelers the cold is like a drug. It gives them a boost. Big Ben will have a big day.

Steelers 27-14

As long as McNabb and Reid are together in Philly the Eagles will always be feared come playoff time. If the New York Giants want to repeat as Super Bowl champs they will have to win at home against a division rival they have already played twice this year. (The teams split the meetings.) Both defenses are top 5 material and will definitely make an impact, but who ultimately wins this game will be on the other side of the ball. My deciding factor is Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs may not be 100 percent, but he's pretty close. With him opening up the running lanes, that will gave Eli a chance to make some plays. McNabb and company will hang tough for a while, but being in the Meadowlands in New York, against the defending champs, will ultimately prove to be too much.

Giants 30-20

Now that I have covered the NFL I would like to discuss the college football world.

Sugar Bowl: Utah 31 Alabama 17

I was pretty impressed with the way the Utah Utes were able to beat a good Alabama team. The biggest thing an underdog needs to do in a high-profile game like this one is take advantage of every opportunity they get. Utah did this early on. Instead of getting two field goals or one, Utah got three touchdowns right at the beginning to go up 21-0. That is huge because again I can't emphasize how important it is for an underdog to seize every opportunity. Brian Johnson knew field goals were not going to be Alabama; touchdowns were. Also, let's not forget about that tremendous drive by Utah in the third quarter with the score only 21-17. Most teams in that situation seem to crumple. You had a 21 point lead and now it's seven? PANIC! Brian Johnson kept his head up and lead Utah down for a huge touchdown to put the score at 28-17. Impressive to say the least.

Fiesta Bowl: Texas 24 Ohio State 21

This was a game that was nothing short of entertaining. Colt McCoy definitely put himself on the Heisman watch for the 2009 season with that late game winning scoring drive. Texas could not run the ball, yet McCoy was still able to have so much success. And this was not a lousy defense, this was an Ohio State defense. One of the best. What McCoy did was remarkable. As for Ohio State I was impressed with how they came roaring back to take a 21-17 lead. Down 17-6 it looked like Ohio State was going to lay down yet again. I think Ohio State needs to revamp their offense. At times the play calling is disgustingly conservative. You have Terrelle Pryor! Open it up! Pryor showed a lot of his athleticism, but I was disappointed how he seemed to short arm some of his throws. All in all, I look for Texas to be in the top 3 for next year and the Buckeyes to be even more dangerous as the offense will be opened up.

I think that covers all the subjects. Oh, wait the BCS National Championship! Nearly slipped my mind!

BCS National Championship Game

Why Florida May Win: The Gators have been clicking on all cylinders lately. Coach Meyer's team hits you in the mouth right from the get-go. But as the SEC Championship game suggests, when faced with adversity this team can rise to the occasion and overcome the obstacles. Furthermore, Florida does have the dynamic Tim Tebow. Against a stout Alabama defense Florida was still able to put up 31 points. Think how many points they will put up against an Oklahoma defense that gives up 24.5 points per game. That spells good news for the Gators.

Why Oklahoma May Win: The Florida defense may only be giving up 12.8 points per game, but against a fairly basic Alabama attack the Gator defense had their hands full. Florida did leave with a victory, but one can only wonder how a record-setting offense in Oklahoma's will do against the Gators' defense. Sam Bradford has thrown 48 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His offense lines is second to none. That all adds up to Bradford being able to put up lots of points. And my final point, Tim Tebow may be an incredible quarterback, but the offense he runs is far too basic at times. Oklahoma's defense will be able to slow it down and in turn do enough to get a victory.

Final Prediction: Two high-powered offenses are coming into Thursday night's matchup with a lot on the line. Which ever coach does win the game will be taking home their second BCS title. In the end, I believe the Florida Gators will win this game. First, Tim Tebow is a once and a lifetime player. To me, I think he's better than Bradford because during this year Tebow has been put in a situation where if he did not make a play Florida could lose. Bradford is yet to be in that sort of situation and succeed. The only one I can think of is the Texas game where Oklahoma lost. And finally the biggest reason Florida will win is the Florida defense. A lot of talk is going around that no defenses exist in the Big 12. Missouri struggled against Northwestern and Texas struggled against Ohio State. Now the Sooners will not struggle as much as Mizzo or UT, but the no. 1 offense will no doubt have it's issues with a hungry Gator defense and that will be just enough for a Florida victory.

Florida 38-31

1 comment:

Lynda Nguyen said...

Why Chris, you do suck at predicting. =)