BCS Bowl Picks

NOTE: (This post was meant to be published on December 29th but due to problems with posting I was unable to get it up until today enjoy !)

Hey everyone ! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!! I apologize for not posting anything in ages but like all of you I have been busy. Anyway the BCS games are here and I as you can imagine am all pumped up not only cause Virginia Tech found their way into the Sugar Bowl with Michigan but also for the rest of the games. From the Orange Bowl, Clemson vs West Virginia to the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma State vs Stanford nearly every BCS game has the potential to be an instant classic! In addition to the 4 BCS Bowls there is also a game I am calling the “Snub Bowl”… aka the Cotton Bowl featuring Kansas State and Arkansas, two teams that could easily compete with any of the 8 teams in BCS Bowls.

We’ll pick the games in order of when they will be played so it’ll start with the “Grand Daddy of them all” the Rose Bowl with Wisconsin taking on Oregon.

Rose Bowl:Oregon vs Wisconsin, January 2nd 2012 @ 5pm:

The ultimate contrast in styles. You get a classic Big 10 power vs PAC 12 speed matchup. For Wisconsin it’s going to be all about running the ball down Oregon’s throat. They should be able to this against Oregon’s 45th ranked rush defense allowing 137 ypg on the ground. For Oregon its going to be their quickness and athleticism on offense. But more specifically the Ducks will have to capitalize on early opportunities, moving the ball shouldn’t be a problem with their 5th ranked offense that moves for an average of 515 ypg. I believe this game will be high scoring but will go to an overall better Wisconsin team. WISCONSIN

Fiesta Bowl:Stanford vs Oklahoma State,Janurary 2nd 2012 @ 8:30 pm :

The 3rd and 4th ranked teams in the BCS Standings. Oklahoma State was 6 points away from playing LSU in the National Championship game. However they will settle for the tough challenge of facing the highly regarded Stanford Cardinal and their QB Andrew Luck. I expect Stanford to win simply because of the weakness of Oklahoma State’s defense. With that said the Cowboys brilliant tandem of QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon will be tested like never before with a tough and experienced Cardinal defense. So the pick from me is the Cardinal in Andrew Luck’s final collegiate game. STANFORD

Sugar Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Michigan,January 3rd 2012 @ 8:30 pm:

On Selection Sunday for the BCS bowls I like many members of Hokie Nation was glued to the message boards on TSL (Techsideline.com) for the latest news. Once wind off the Sugar Bowl came out I felt two things.. 1. Holy crap is this really happening? 2. YES a BCS Bowl ! But what the “Experts” on ESPN are saying about VT not being worthy or deserving let me ask you What the Hell has Michigan done ??? They lost to a weak Iowa team and a decent/ above average Michigan State. Sure they beat Nebraska but the Hokies only lost to one team all season. As a VT fan I am loving the role of the Underdog simply because in recent years Tech has been listed as the favorite and been embarrassed. This year I believe Tech will rain on the Wolverines parade in what will likely be RB David Wilson and CB Jayron Hosley’s last game in the Maroon and Orange Tech will triumph in the national spotlight. VIRGINIA TECH

Orange Bowl: Clemson vs West Virginia,January 4th 2012 @ 8:30 pm:

The classic ACC vs Big “Least” matchup. Clemson started and finished the year strong but had a few crucial mishaps in the middle portion of the season. West Virginia on the other hand is the best of the losers that currently make up the Big East.  The Mountaineers had a tough matchup with LSU early in the year and went on to fall 2 more times over the coarse of the season. I like Clemson big time in this matchup even though WVU is 7th in passing yards per game (341.8 yards) I feel that the Tigers rushing attack and speed will just dominate the weak Mountaineers. CLEMSON

Cotton Bowl:Kansas State vs Arkansas,January 6th 2012 @ 8 pm:

Two teams that should be in the BCS will square off in the legendary Cotton Bowl. Both schools will bring busloads of people to nearby Cowboys Stadium in Dallas making for a very loud and hectic environment. The game will come down to the 3rd phase… not offense nor defense but each team special units. And the clear advantage in that category goes in the way of the Razorbacks with WR Joe Adams returning punts for the Hogs look for him to get his 4th Return for a TD.It also helps that Arkansas lost to the two titans playing for the crystal ball (Bama and LSU). ARKANSAS

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs LSU, January 9th 2012 @ 8:30 pm:

The epic and highly anticipated rematch of the game many referred to as the “Game of the Century”, Bama and LSY finally meet again. What people took away from this amazing battle the 1st time around was that Defense does indeed win games and championships. Both LSU and Alabama are ranked either 1st or 2nd in nearly every defensive category in the country. This stalemate between defenses and the shutting down of the opposing offense the game came down to the special teams units of the 1st and 2nd ranked teams. The advantage fell in the favor of the Bayou Bengals who went on the win the game after kicking woes from the Tide. I expect a very similar game the 2nd time around but I do see one difference… A TD will be scored maybe not by the offense but perhaps by one of the incredible punt returners. Between the Tigers’ Tyrann “Honeybadger” Mathieu and the Tide’s Marquis Maze don’t be surprised if you see multiple TD’s in the return game by either team. Now for the moment of truth; and THE PICK is LSU! LSU

2011 Preseason Haven Rankings

It’s almost here ! No not the NFL season or Baseball Playoffs , but the start of the 2011 NCAA Football 2011 season. This year on Sports Haven we will have a ranking system of our top 15 teams in the nation. These rankings will be updated every sunday once the season kicks off. Like all rankings The Haven Rankings will have a formula. We will base our rankings on a number of different aspects but here is our basic formula for finding our top 15 in the country.

Here’s our formula: 

Overall Record, Strength of Schedule, Point differential, and half of the USA Today and Coaches poll points factored together

This list will be competitive and tough to rank so if any of our readers think we’re completely wrong or completely agree with us just let us know by commenting or voting in our polls. 

Atop our poll at numero uno this year is a team that is in the top 5 every year but never quite gets there. There SOS (Strength of Schedule) is in the top 5 of teams on the list. They have maybe the best QB to WR combo in the country with a good defense to boot. The Preseason Number 1 team in the Haven Rankings in none other than Boomer Sooner; Oklahoma.

 

THE RANKINGS

  1. Oklahoma Sooners–   827 pts    SOS Grade : A-  (@FSU, A&M, MIZZOU & @ OK STATE)
  2. LSU Tigers–  798 pts   SOS Grade : A – (Oregon,@Alabama, Florida & Auburn)
  3. Oregon Ducks– 755 pts SOS Grade: (LSU,@Stanford, USC & @ Arizona)
  4. Alabama Crimson Tide– 707 pts SOS Grade: B (LSU, @ Florida ,@ Ole Miss & @Auburn)
  5. Stanford Cardinal–  695 pts SOS Grade: C+ (Oregon, @ USC, California & Notre Dame)
  6. Oklahoma State Cowboys 675 pts SOS Grade:B- (Oklahoma, @ A&M, @ Texas & @ Mizzou)
  7. Boise State Broncos– 665 pts SOS Grade:  C – (TCU, @ Georgia, Nevada & @ Fresno State)
  8. Wisconsin Badgers– 645 pts SOS Grade:  B (Nebraska,@Ohio State, Penn State & @ Michigan State
  9. Texas A&M Aggies– 640 pts SOS Grade :B+ (@ Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Mizzou & Texas  )
  10. Florida State Seminoles– 635 pts SOS Grade: B-  (Oklahoma,@ Florida, @Clemson & Miami )
  11. South Carolina Gamecocks– 630 pts SOS Grade: B – (Florida, @ Arkansas, @ Georgia & Auburn
  12. Arkansas Razorbacks-629 pts  SOS Grade: B+ (@ LSU, @ Alabama, A&M , & South Carolina
  13. Nebraska Cornhuskers– 623 pts SOS Grade: B + (@ Wisconsin, @ Ohio State, @ Michigan & @ Penn State)
  14. Virginia Tech Hokies– 608 pts SOS Grade: C (Miami, UNC,@ Georgia Tech & Clemson)
  15. TCU Hornedfrogs– 593 pts SOS Grade: D + (@ Boise State,BYU,@SDSU & SMU)

The Analysis

 Oklahoma was a pretty easy choice at the top but after that was not as easy to grade , rank and score. Number 2 came down to LSU and Oregon ; Two very different teams with insane coaches and tremendous expectations in 2011…Guess I’ll just have to wait for Labor Day weekend when the Ducks and Tigers square off on primetime. The 4 through 7 slots were easy to fit in Bama,Stanford,OK State and Boise, but A&M and Wisconsin were close in schedule and points for the 8th slot. I picked Wisconsin based on the teams returning players, (Particularly on the offensive side of the ball.). I had to put FSU in somewhere so 10 felt like a good place… Then South Carolina just beat Arkansas for the 11th spot in our poll.Nebraska has a tough 1st year schedule wise in the Big 10 with trips to “The Big House”, “Happy Valley” , “The Horseshoe” and to top it off a visit to Camp Randall in Madison,WI…After the Cornhuskers are the Hokies who have been plagued with injuries in camp but still have a solid team intact from a season ago. And rounding out my top 15 preseason teams in TCU who is without a veteran QB and playing an AWFUL schedule that features only 1 Quality opponent (Boise).

Our  next poll will be on Monday: 9/5/11… we’ll address the 1st weekend of NCAA Football action and maybe have some shakeups atop the leaderboard.

Also in closing please take a moment and vote in our “Did We Get it Right ? ” Poll

 

Championship Weekend

Bruce Taylor

Marcus Lattimore

This weekend 3 major conferences (ACC,BIG 12 and SEC) will have their annual Championship Game. Out of these 3 games the one with the most impact or greatest storyline is by far the 4 O’Clock game between (1) Auburn and (19) South Carolina. If Auburn can pull it out they will advance to the BCS National Championship where they will meet either Oregon or TCU depending on the result of the Civil War (3:30 ABC). The other major storyline in this SEC throw down is the controversy over Heisman hopeful and Auburn QB Cam Newton (We’ll save that for next time). The other guy to watch besides Mr. Newton is South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore. He wears number 21 and runs with pure power and amazing vision. To make things even better he is a in state 5 star recruit who will shape this program for years to come. For that reason I am gonna give the Gamecocks a chance but he’s gotta have the greatest day of his young career.   The second championship game of the day is for the ACC. This game features my team, (15)Virginia Tech  and the (21 )Seminoles of Florida State. I like this matchup especially being a tech fan because of the 3 or 4 man rushing attack of the Hokies. This attack usually starts of with RB’S Darren Evans and Ryan Williams, Then as the game rules on speed back David Wilson gets some touches and opens up a whole new element with Tyrod Taylor in the option offense. This will work especially good against FSU even though their average Corner runs a 4.4 they have had trouble stopping the run all year. On the flip side when the Noles have the ball they let their senior QB Christian Ponder sling around the pigskin to variety of fast and physical receivers. My matchup to watch is the Seminoles vs The Crowd. Even though it says neutral site it is projected to be an 80% Tech crowd in nearby Charlotte,NC. If FSU can quiet the crowd early with some scores they will really make Tech work for it but if the Hokies “Lunchpail” Defense led by sophomore LB Bruce Taylor can get the place rocking early and often this game could be over by Halftime. The final Conference Championship game of the day is in the Big 12 between (9) Oklahoma and (13) Nebraska. This game is definitely intriguing and a major toss-up. From the North you’ve got the Cornhuskers who are power team with the usual down hill back (Roy Helu Jr.) but have a very talented yet uncharacteristic Quarterback for a Nebraska team (Taylor Martinez) who can rush for close to 100 yards in a game. Then from the South you’ve got the Sooners who run a fast spread offense and like every single season they will win by scoring close to 50 pts a game and having an explosion of raw speed and talent in their backfield (Landry Jones and DeMarco Murray) . My key for this Heavyweight Bout is the Nebraska Defense vs Landry Jones. The Huskers will have to hit Jones early and often to make the Sooners become one dimensional up front with just draw plays or sweeps to Murray which they should be able to stop. If they fail Jones will have a monster day and keep the 11 guys on the other side of the ball guessing and on their heels the whole game.   

Landry Jones

My Picks

SEC Championship 4:00 (CBS) South Carolina vs Auburn     Pick: South Carolina

ACC Championship: 7:45 (ESPN) Florida State vs Virginia Tech    Pick: Virginia Tech    

Big 12 Championship:8:00 (ABC) Nebraska vs Oklahoma Pick: Oklahoma

Hokies look for success in 2010

The Virginia Tech Hokies are currently ranked 10 in the Coaches Poll and in the top 10 in all the others. The Hokies are no strangers to the top of the rankings because they have started there in years pasts. The year is different in many ways. This year the Hokies have stars at many positions , This year they have a fully developed recruiting class from 2006 now into polished seniors that will likely make impacts on Sunday afternoons and the major difference that separates the 2010 team from all others…. They Can Go All The Way!!  One thing that may get in the Hokies way is as usual their brutal schedule. Starting in week 1 where they will square off with the Boise State Broncos in DC. The Broncos like the Hokies are very experienced especially on defense where they are returning 1o out of 11 starters from last years squad. This marquee matchup will also be very different but equally effective leaders at the Quarterback position. For Boise State it is the star-studded sophomore Kellen Moore. Moore racked up 35,000 yards and 39 TD’s in the passing game in the 09 season. Moore also is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy this year. On the other side the Hokies will be led by Senior QB Tyrod Taylor or as many know him as “T-Mobile”. Tyrod has had a successful career with the Hokies last year racking up a career high 2,300 yards through the air and around 3.8 yards on average when running the ball.So if you look at it closer this is basically New School (Taylor) vs traditional (Moore) and both will be lighting it up on Monday 9/6/10 in our Nation’s capital. Another key matchup to watch is one that will feature two NFL ready prospects on the perimeter. The Matchup that I am talking about will be between Boise wide-out Titus Young and Hokie Corner Rashad Carmichael. Both these guys have 4.5 speed, are 5’11 and most important are both extremely physical when it comes to getting the ball.  Anyway we will all have to wait and see how this matchup goes now let’s get on to the rest of the season… What the Hokies have this year that they lacked last season is a good group of receivers that can be compared to guys that are succeeding on Sunday afternoons. For example senior WR Danny Coale is a small little speedster who knows when he must come through and will be Tyrod Taylor go to guy in many crucial situations throughout this season. When I see Coale I immediately think of the Patriots and there two slot receivers Julien Edelman and Wes Welker. Another prime example of a talented Hokie is Jaret Boykin who many Hokie fans will remember for his last second Hail Mary reception against Tennessee to close out the 1st Half of the 2009 Chick Fil’a Bowl. What Boykin possesses is size at 6’2 and good speed to be a potential deep threat like say a Santonio Holmes or maybe a Sidney Rice. But I don’t see either one of these receivers getting over 1,000 yards this year not because they can’t but because they won’t have the opportunity to do so

HOKIE D

Coale

  

Carmichael

This of course is because of two things… 1. They are Virginia Tech and they play “Beamer Ball” by running up the gut and getting physical. My second point is that Tech has two Runningbacks who have rushed for over 1,200 yards in a single season. We start off this dangerous 1-2 punch with Ryan Williams who led the ACC with 1,600 rushing yards and 21 TD’s last season. Williams is entering is second year as the starter and has already announced that it will be his last in the Chicago Maroon and Orange. Who can blame him… He is projected as a sure 1st rounder in this year’s NFL Draft. Part 2 of the attack is led by Darren Evans who missed all of last year with a torn ACL in a practice scrimmage. Evans had a brilliant 08 season where he had just over 1,200 yards and rushed for 11 TD’s including a Thursday Night game in Blacksburg against Maryland where he set a school record with 253 yards rushing in a single game. Unfortunately for the Hokies like Williams, Evans has his eyes set on the NFL where he should be picked around the 2nd or 3rd round depending on his 40 time. What Tech also has as a back up plan is another talented runner in sophomore David Wilson who ran a 4.3 in his recent 40 yard dash. What the Hokies also have to help their electric ground game are experience linemen like senior center Beau Warren and redshirt juniors Blake DeChristopher and Jaymes Brookes on the right side of the line. As we all know size matters and the Hokies know this by having 3 linemen over 6’6 and two of those 3 weighing in over 300 lbs. Now the key to every Va. Tech football team is always on the defensive side of the ball by legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster who as usual will have a defensive unit that ranks in the top 10 in yards and points allowed. This year the Hokie defense will be led by defensive backs like Davon Morgan , Jayron Hosley and Rashard Carmichael. But it will as always start-up front with the “Big Nasty’s” in the trenches like John Graves, Steven Friday and Chris Dragger who will be looking to keep the pressure up throughout the course of the game.Next and probably most important to this Hokies Defense will be there linebackers. This years linebacker crew will be without the experience of a true leader due to the injury of junior Barquell Rivers. This unit should still be in the opposing backfield on every play even without the experience. My final prediction on the Hokies this year is a year of 10-1. I see Tech losing a close one with Boise in DC and then winning out and when all is said and done they will be ACC Champions for the 3rd time and will face either UCONN or Pittsburgh in an ACC vs Big East Showdown in a BCS Bowl.    

Hokie Recruiting Recap

Another year of NCAA Football is on the way! That means that recruiting is over with and signing day has passed. Tech once again dominated in state. I mean they missed out on interior lineman Morgan Moses but did manage to get their hands on playmakers David Wilson and Logan Thomas. It would’ve been nice if they had gotten Kevin Newsome or Tajh Boyd. The thing that is really going to affect Tech is the way these other ACC Teams are starting to recruit. Like UNC and Clemson. Also remember who the number 1 in state recruit was 3 years ago… Exactly Gator standout Percy Harvin. And now with Newsome heading up to happy valley and Tajh Boyd heading down to Clemson. Before we know it all the talent that is the 757 will be gone and Tech will have to go out of state to places like Carolina and Jersey.