Friday, August 20, 2010

10 Semi-Bold Predictions for College Football 2010 *WITH ONE EDIT*

One week away from the start of the new college football season. Going to do against the spread picks this year as I did last year and they'll be concurrent against Facebook. This year, I thought I'd kick the season off with 10 (semi) bold predictions for upcoming season.

1. North Carolina (would have) went to Atlanta and beat LSU in the opener (if half the startes aren't suspended).

North Carolina has the defense to make noise in the ACC this year, loaded with pro-prospects such as Marvin Austin. LSU and Les Miles (not my fav) has struggled since Nick Saban's recruits left Baton Rouge, I don't see a major turnaround with Jordan Jefferson this year. Whatever the point total is in this, take the under. *EDIT* If UNC has to suspend multiple starters like Greg Little and Marvin Austin for this game, I have to scratch it. Extenuating circumstances. So, another ACC like prediction....
1b. The Return of Tha U...Miami plays for an ACC Championship in 2010.
With UNC reeling from multiple possible infractions, the door opens for the Canes to ascend to the top of the ACC Coastal. Miami has a tough schedule..including tough non-conference roadtrips to the Horeshoe to play Ohio State and to Pitt to play the Panthers. But in conference, they get Florida State, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech at home and Georgia Tech as their toughest conferenfce road game. If Miami can win those 3 home ACC premier matchups, they'll have a chance to return to a BCS bowl behind Jacory Harris.

2. Virginia Tech will take care of business week 1 and stop this Boise State national championship madness.
Another semi-bold first week prediction; I am not buying what Boise is selling. Sure, they have lots of seniors. Sure, they played in and won a BCS bowl last year (but against TCU?!?). And they have managed an astromonical #3 preseason ranking. Forget about it. Boise hasn't played a team as talented as the Hokies since the 2006 Fiesta, and they needed every trick in the book to win that night. Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams and company dominate in Landover. Virginia Tech by three scores.

3. Texas loses three times this year.

Does everyone forget that Garrett Gilbert looked AWFUL in the first half against Alabama? Suddenly, he's the second coming of John Elway? Texas still doesn't have a tailback, and they are a year away from having 5-star recruit Malcolm Brown on the squad (YouTube search him, scary). Gilbert and the Horns will be back; just not in 2010. They lost players on D. Offensive line isn't full of juniors and seniors.

L @ Texas Tech
L at the Red River Shootout (the Sooners are due)
and L @ Nebraska

4. Goodbye and thanks for all the losses...Rich Rodriguez is fired by season's end. Michigan is on the verge of falling completely off the radar. After the 2006 resergence, the Wolverines have had dissapointment after dissapointment, starting with the insane loss to App State in 2007. No wins over Ohio State in, well, forever. They start off with UConn. Then a road game against Notre Dame (see below) If Michigan loses to the Irish and god forbid, lose to the Huskies, RichRod will need to get his resume ready and prepare for a sendoff to the WAC. I see at least 5 losses on their schedule.

5. At least two sophomores make it to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

In 2007, Tim Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore. In 2008, Sam Bradford won the Heisman as a sophomore. In 2009, Mark Ingram won the Heisman as a sophmore. 2010? Four names you might see in New York: Dion Lewis, Andrew Luck, and Ryan Williams, and Landry Jones.

6. Stanford either wins at least a share of the Pac-10 championship.
People are going to find out that Stanford wasn't all Toby Gerhart. Andrew Luck may find a plane ticket to New York in December. Stanford needs to survive a three game stretch of
@ Notre Dame, @ Oregon, and home against USC. Go 2-1 in that stretch, and the tree may compete for a run for the roses.

7. Dayne Crist will be a household name by years-end as the Irish find their offensive groove under Brian Kelly.

College football is cyclical. Look at the fall and rise of Oklahoma, Florida, and Alabama. Is the next team to rise from the ashes the Irish? Everyone seems to think Dayne Crist is for real. He certainly has an offensive minded coach in Brian Kelly calling the shots. I can see the Irish only losing 3 or 4 games on their schedule, and setting themselves up for a return to national prominence in 2011.

8. Two more non-automatic qualifiers make BCS bowls. And by 2012, the teams that get these bids probably won't be non-AQs. Boise State and TCU certainly stand the best chance, but don't sleep on Fresno State or Houston.

9. Oklahoma and Missouri will play for the Big XII Championship for the third time in four years.

OU and Mizzou won't meet in the regular season, but they'll square off in JerryWorld for the last Big XII championship. The Sooners look strong enough to win all but one or two contests, enough to win the South. Mizzou may only lose to OU in conference play, and don't be surprised if Blaine Gabbert and the Tigers outscore the Huskers in Lincoln. Why is everyone SO in love with Nebraska? OU won the last two Big XII title matchups with the Tigers, and they'll win the third too.

And finally...

10. An SEC school will not win the BCS National Championship.
For the first time since 2005, an SEC school won't receive an invitation to play in the mythical national championship (MNC). Alabama will find a road loss at Arkansas and a home loss to Florida. Florida, on the other hand, will find losses to Georgia and Florida State. Basically, we're looking at a 2-loss SEC champ. And since Ohio State and Oklahoma won't lose more than 1, I'm predicting the Buckeyes and Sooners to meet in Glendale for the crystal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whistling Straits As Much To Blame as Dustin Johnson

Ahh, welcome back in 2010! The Ruling on the Field blog is back in action after a long hiatus, ready and pumped for football season! As we wait, a side note about this weekend's travesty at the PGA Championship.

Wanna know who has had as bad a year as Tiger Woods? Try Dustin Johnson. Dominating the US Open at Pebble Beach, Dustin proceeds to go into epic fail mode and blow up on the first three holes in the final round. Then, the ridiculousness at Whistling Straits.

Leading the golf tournament on the 18th hole, Dustin predictably hits a terrible drive. Into a patch of sand with FANS standing in it. READ AGAIN, with FANS STANDING IN IT. There are weeds growing in this thing. It looks like my front yard.

Johnson, a player who often plays too fast and is trying to focus on getting back on track, walks up to the ball and grounds his club and takes a practice swing.

On any other day, at any other normal major championship, this would be ok. Because, it's not like he was in a bunker.......

But according to Whistling Straits local rules...any piece of sand is a bunker. Doesn't matter if there is grass growing in it. Doesn't matter if there are fans standing in it with empty beer cans around. Doesn't matter if Shooter McGavin has a crony there heckling you. It's a bunker.

Come on Whistling Straits. Seriously? Get over yourself. The course designer, Pete Dye, is known for trillions of bunkers. That's fine. MAINTAIN THEM. If you are going to make them PLAY as bunkers, MAINTAIN then like bunkers.

Guarantee Dustin doesn't take a practice swing in a NORMAL bunker. Sure, he should have read the rule sheet and known. But Whistling Straits should have done better for him. This would NEVER happen at Augusta, or Pebble, or Torrey Pines, or Pinehurst #9.