We're Playing There?? Hardest Places to Play in College Football

As we are approach the upcoming College Football season I take a look at the Top 10 places that opposing players don't want to enter on a Saturday afternoon.

10. Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin Badgers: Camp Randall may not be the best football stadium in Wisconsin but it still ranks as one of the best in the College Football world. On staurday afternoons and nights the 80,000+ Sconnie's get rocking. There may not be a crazier moment in College Football then when "Jump Around" gets playing at the end of the third quarter.

Oregon Fans at Autzen Stadium
9. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech Hokies: The Hokie faithful in Blacksburg, Virginia get real rowdy come Saturday afternoons in the fall. It also doesn't hurt that you have a team that has double digit wins every season since 2003. It seats only 66,000 but its still easily one of the loudest stadiums in College Football.

8. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee Volunteers: The 105,000 fans in attendance at Neyland make it one of the best venues in sports on a Saturday afternoon. The Volunteers have struggled lately but its still a place where teams prefer not to play on Saturdays.

7. Sanford Stadium, Georgia Bulldogs: You don't want to play "between the hedges" on a Saturday afternoon because not only do you have to face the consistently dominant Bulldogs but you also have to face the more than 90,000 crazy Georgia fans. Example: Georgia Fan

 6. Ohio Stadium "The Horseshoe", Ohio St. Buckeyes: The Horseshoe may lose some noise heading into this year after all the off season problems in Columbus but its still hard to top the O-H-I-O before the game. The Horseshoe on a Saturday afternoon is a place you must visit if your a College Football fan.

Whiteout on a Saturday night at Beaver Stadium
5. Autzen Stadium, Oregon Ducks: Autzen is the smallest stadium on the list, holding just about 55,000 a game, but it gets crazy loud in Eugene. You walk into the stadium and your ears start tingling. The stands are so close to the field and it was created so that it would keep the sound inside the stadium. On a wet and rainy day with the crowd screaming it'd be hard to find a more difficult place to play.

4. Memorial Stadium, Oklahoma Sooners: "Boomer Sooner" is continually said loud and clear throughout the stadium and just makes the place go crazy and the intimating structure in the middle of no where doesn't hurt either. 85,000 Sooners will be cheering for the preseason #1 overall team in 2011.

3. Beaver Stadium, Penn St Nittany Lions: A whiteout on a Saturday night at Penn State is arguable the most intimidating thing in College Sports. You have 110,000 crazy Penn St fans packing into Beaver Stadium and it just feels like the stadium is going to fall apart. Imagine what the players feel like when the ground starts trembling as you enter from the tunnel.

2. Tiger Stadium "Death Valley", LSU Tigers: I dont know anyone who wants to go down to Baton Rogue on a Saturday afternoon and play the LSU Tigers in "Death Valley". The Tigers always have some of the best fans in College Football and when you pack 92,000 of them into a stadium it can get very intimidating.
"Death Valley" on a Saturday night

1. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium "The Swap", Florida Gators: "The Swamp" has been one of the most feared venues in sports over the last few decades. No one likes to see the Florida Gators on their schedule, especially if you have to play them in the swamp. The passionate Florida fans have given the Gators the second best home winning percentage since 1990 and that looks to continue under Will Muschamp.

Honorable Mention

Michigan Stadium" The Big House", Michigan Wolverines

Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama Crimson Tide

Memorial Stadium, Nebraska Cornhuskers

Kyle Field "12th Man Stadium", Texas A&M Aggies

Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Boise St's season lies in the hand of Kellen Moore

Heisman Trophy finalist Kellen Moore anchors
the Broncos potent offense.
Boise St has been waiting and waiting for that shot at a football national championship since then broke onto the scene big time back in 2007 by beating Oklahoma in one of the best BCS Bowl games of all time. Boise has been the most dominating programs over the last decade, winning the most games and having the best win percentage out of any team in College Football. They have continually been looked down upon because of having a weak schedule yet continue to win games season after season. Can Kellen Moore prove the doubters wrong and lead the Broncos to the pinnacle of College Sports this season?

Kellen Moore has been one of the elite players in College Football since he stepped on campus in Boise his freshman year. Moore has lost only two games while being under center for the Broncos  (TCU in '08, Nevada '10) and looks to have another undefeated season like he did in 2009. Moore's personal achievements culminated last season when he was selected as one of the four finalists for the Heisman Trophy Award.

Moore dominated in almost every passing category last season, ranking 1st in passer rating, 6th in passing yards, 3rd in completion percentage 4th in touchdowns and all while throwing only 6 interceptions. Last season wasn't a one time thing either. The lefty has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in all three seasons. Despite all of these accomplishments Kellen Moore has been one of the most humble characters off the field, not getting into any trouble and always having time to talk to the press. Moore looks to continue his amazing career this season even with the schedule being more difficult this upcoming season.

Kicker Kyle Brotzman after missing two field goals
against Nevada
Boise St moves to the Mountain West conference from the WAC for the 2011 season. They had hoped to face the likes of Utah, BYU, and TCU year in and year out but Utah left to help form the new Pac 12, BYU went independent, and TCU will head to the Big East for the 2012 season. Their schedule will still be more difficult then in years past by facing TCU, rival Nevada, Air Force, Georgia, and San Diego St.

This upcoming season maybe the best shot in years for the Broncos to make that title run, barring any Kyle Brotzman like moments. Many analysts, coaches, fans, even college presidents (looking at you Ohio St.) look down on Boise St as an elite program. Over the past decade they have continued to prove those doubters wrong and have turned themselves into a Top 25 program year in and year out and it looks like they wont be going away for a long time. Sooner or later they will break that barrier and with Kellen Moore under center and Chris Petersen at command I could see that happening this season.


Heisman Watch: LaMichael James

The small but  shifty Oregon running back has had trouble off the field but when he puts on those Nike cleats and steps on the turf the little guy is a great one. The star running back for an Oregon team that scored almost 50 points a game last year is going to be a player that the whole nation will be watching in this upcoming season.

James finished third in the Heisman voting last year but is still coming off of a bittersweet season after a devastating loss to Cam Newton and Auburn in the National Title game. James was one of the stars on an undefeated Oregon Ducks team that lit up the scoreboard . They ran and ran till teams started to fake injuries to stop the play and get some air.

James missed the first game of the season because of some off the field problems and when his backup ran for over 200 yards and five touchdowns in a 72-0 win some thought that James may not be the starting when he came back. He proved all of those doubters wrong in the next game when he scampered 72 yards while breaking tackles left and right for a touchdown in one of the best college football plays of the season. He backed that run up with another 10 unbelievable games and ended the season with a rushing total of over 1700 yards and got into the end zone 24 times.

James will return to the Oregon backfield this season focusing on one goal: A National Title. The 5'9 running back will be joined in the backfield once again with dual threat quarterback Darren Thomas and fellow running back Kenjon Barner while Chip Kelly will once again conduct a fast paced offense. These three will try and carry the Ducks to another National Title game run, and this time resulting in a Championship trophy that they can bring back to Eugene, Oregon for the Duck faithful.

Its hard to improve on the outstanding numbers that LaMichael James put up last season, but James stayed out of trouble this off season so he will get one more game in...could be a 200 yarder. This kid can run with the combination of speed, agility and strength. This skill set put him at the top of the College Football world and these skills will keep him up their for this season and hopefully the next season as well. You better not let him get a step on you or next time you'll see him he'll be in the end zone.

Andrew Luck Article

LaMichael James Highlights


Best Uniforms in College Football

As we are about a month away from the College Football Season I take a look at the best uniforms in College Football for the upcoming season. 

10. Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats help represent the Big East on the list. The Bearcats embarrassed themselves when they pulled out in the all white uniforms at the 2010 Sugar Bowl but they bounced back in full stride in 2010. Adidas came out with some great new uniforms last season. The Black and Red look very good as do the cat scratches down the side of the pants.

9. Arizona St Sun Devils

The Sun Devils changed up there logo for this upcoming season and it made the uniforms much better. The new logo combined with the new Nike Combat Uniforms make a deadly combo as they step on the field for the upcoming season. I would put the Sun Devils higher but they haven't played with them yet. They start out what is a dominating list for the newly created Pac-12.

8. TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs rep the colors purple and black. Many have different opinions on the colors, some hate it and some like it a lot and I personally like it. TCU finished 13-0 last season with these uniforms and will look to repeat that this year in the weaker Mountain West. They will bring these unique colors to the Big East next season.

7. USC Trojans

USC has always had some great uniforms but hasn't looked to change it up a little bit. If the Trojans get some new Nike alternative uniforms then we could see a top 5 ranking. It still helps when you have players like Taylor Mays (right) and Joe McKnight to help you pull off the Cardinal and Gold. They join the list of four Pac 12 teams in my Top 10 rankings.

6. Oregon Ducks

Oregon has so many uniform combinations that you shouldn't even try to count. This can be both a positive and negative for the the Ducks. Some nights they will come out with the sweetest uniforms in the country but other nights they will show up in neon green or yellow and with throw them off the chart.

5. UCLA Bruins

The Bruins have been rocking the light blue and gold uniforms for several years and I've always been a fan. Even though the Bruins haven't been ranked in the Top 5 for a while they climbed into the Top 5 on my list. They are the highest ranked member of the Pac-12 on the list and beat out their fellow in city rival USC by two spots.

4. Georgia Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs brought out some black jerseys to go with their red helmets a couple years ago and they skyrocket up my list. The Bulldogs only pull out these uniforms once.. maybe twice a year but when they do the other team better know that its game on. When you have that yearly rivalry between the Gators and the Bulldogs you know that these teams will represent Nike well.

3. Florida Gators

The Gators year in and year out have some of the best uniforms and when you consistently have one of the best teams in College Football it doesn't hurt to pull out all the stops. Also when you have players like Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow, Joe Haden and other sporting the Blue, Orange, and White it doesn't hurt. The Gators are another team that sported the Nike Combat uniforms last season.

2. Clemson Tigers

The Tigers orange uniforms help the ACC take the top two spots in this poll. Clemson has struggled the past few seasons on the field but Nike has continued by giving them some great uniforms. Before a home game when the Tigers come out of the tunnel and run down the hill the 70,000+ fans on hand in South Carolina are ready.

1. North Carolina Tarheels

The Tarheels have arguably the best color in sports, Carolina Blue, and they would top my list if this were basketball or football. When you walk into that stadium and their wearing Carolina Blue and white during a whiteout game you get spooked.


Buckeyes get ready for the upcoming season

The Buckeyes were predicted to be a Top 5 team come August till the bottom fell out from under the program. Their starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor left the school, Jim Tressel resigned under loads and loads of scrutiny and they will also play the first five games without key players due to suspensions. Can this team fight through their off season troubles to continue their dominance in the Big 10?

Tressel resigned on Memorial Day
The Big Ten will be completely reformed in 2011. The addition of Nebraska to the conference, two divisions, a conference championship game, and the possibility of no team from Ohio being a Big 10 champ. The Buckeyes have been in a BCS Bowl the last 6 years and 8 out of the last 9 years. They also have won or held a share of the Big 10 title for the last six seasons and a total of 35. I'll explain why this year will be a different story in Columbus.

Co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell will take over in place of Jim Tressell for the upcoming season. Fickell was the right man for the job after the bottom fell out on the program and Tressel resigned. Ohio St didn't have enough time before the season began to look for a new high brow coach so picking Tressell's assistant should limit the damages but it still wont be Tressel at the reigns. Fickell has only spent 9 years in the coaching industry, all at OSU, and has never held a head coaching position. Not only is Fickell not the mastermind of a coach like Tressel was but he will also have significantly less to work with this upcoming season, especially in the first five games.

Terrelle Pryor was getting the same amount of pressure as Tressel during this whole process so just days after Tressel resigned from the program Pryor decided to leave as well. Pryor was already going to have to sit out the first five games of the 2011 season but other leaks came out about new cars and extra money so Pryor left. The 2011 offense was to be formed around the senior quarterback and his ability to create something out of nothing by scrambling and using his much improved throwing mechanics to lead a deadly two dimensional team. The Buckeyes will probably now look towards freshman dual threat quarterback Braxton Miller to lead the troops on the offensive side of the ball. Miller will step into his first season and play in Miami  for the third game of the season and will also play in the Big House with over 1110,000 people watching when they face rival Michigan on the road. The lack of experience under center will definitely keep the the Buckeyes from reaching as high as they want to this season.
True Freshamn QB Braxton Miller

Running Back Dan "Boom" Herron, Offensive Tackle Mike Adams, Wide Receiver DeVier Posey and Defensive End Solomon Thomas will all be on the bench for the first five games of the season due to suspensions. The group was said to have sold their Ohio St memorabilia to pay for tattoos. Herron was the leading rusher on a rush heavy team last season, Mike Adams was a first team all Big 10 selection at Tackle, DeVier Posey was the 2nd leading receiver and Solomon Thomas had the game clinching interception in the Sugar Bowl. The loss of these players for the first fives games will hurt, not only in those first five games but several ones after that because it may take them a couple games to adjust. The Buckeyes will face the likes of Akron, Toledo, Miami, Colorado, and Michigan St in those first five games and it will be very hard with a freshman quarterback, especially one that is missing his best blocker, rusher, and receiver, to win all five games.

The Big Ten hasn't been the normal Big Ten over the last few seasons but with the introduction of Nebraska and the hopeful return of Michigan to its elite status should help this conference thrive once again. Michigan returns most of their roster, including Heisman candidate Denard Robinson. Nebraska will return QB Taylor Martinez and their always strong defense, Former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson heads to Wisconsin, Michigan St looks to repeat their Top 10 season, Joe Pa looks to keep Penn St rolling and other Big Ten programs will also look to thrive. All of them are looking to take down the struggling Big Ten powerhouse.

The Buckeyes have a very tough road ahead of them if they want to continue their win streak vs Michigan, get back to another BCS bowl game and win their 7th consecutive Big Ten title. It is do able with the talent that they have on the roster but I do not believe that it will happen with all these problems inside the program.


Top College Football Story lines

We are just under a month and a half away from the kickoff to the College Football season and I've been ready since January 11th. There is no better feeling then that opening kickoff at home and the sold out stadium is on their feet as the new season is about to kick off. Today I'll take a look at some reasons why you should be ready for football.

The Broncos move to the Mountain West
Nebraska in the "Big 10": The longtime Big 12 powerhouse heads east to face off with the likes of Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Big 10 will now separate into two divisions and it will all culminate with the first ever Big 10 championship game.

Boise St's year? The Broncos will be facing some better competition in their conference this upcoming season as they head to the Mountain West . Boise expected to face the likes of BYU , Utah, and TCU for seasons to come but Utah bolted to become part of the Pac 12 and BYU went independent. They will face TCU for one season before they will then dart for the Big East in 2012. Even without those teams the likes of Air Force, San Diego St and Colorado St are still much improved competition over many teams in the WAC.

Pacific 12: Colorado and Utah will help create the Pac 12. Utah, along with TCU, helped form the Mountain West into an elite conference but when they had the opportunity to ditch out to an AQ conference they took the bait. The Buffalo are also headed into the Pac 12 after an awful season and a possible Big 12 collapse.

Return of three Heisman finalist: Andrew Luck, LaMicheal James, and Kellen Moore will all return for their repective teams this season after their outstanding seasons last year.

War Eagle? The Auburn faithful lost Cam Newton to the NFL, as expected, but will they be able to rebound after losing their star and Heisman winner? Or will it be a one time thing for Gene Chizik and Co.?

Russell Wilson is headed to Madison
Big L(East): The Big East had two teams preseason ranked in the Top 15 last season but failed to have one in the Top 25 at the final poll. Can this conference turn it around and become an equal AQ conference once again?

Russell Wilson to Wisconsin: The star QB back at NC State has decided to pack up and head north to play for the Wisconsin Badgers. Wilson graduated last season from NC State so he is able to transfer without having to sit out a year. Is he the missing piece to a title run in Madison?

Ohio St: The Buckeyes were predicted to be a Top 5 team come August till the bottom fell out from under the program. Their three year starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor left the school, Jim Tressel resigned under loads and loads of pressure and they will also play the first several games without key players. Can this team fight through their off season troubles to continue their dominance in the Big 10?

*longer stories to come later

Will Andrew Luck Remain Top Dog?

After reading the Sports Illustrated article on Andrew Luck's career both on the football field as well as in the class room I started to wonder if it will be almost unfair to have Luck is on the football field. The red shirt sophomore torched defense's throwing the ball, could duck his head and run and also forced an amazing turnover when he lit up a USC safety who had picked up a fumble. He was the essence of a Pro Style Quarterback and a quarterback that could turn around a franchise. Instead the sophomore decided to stay another year in Palo Alto and pursue his academic and athletic accomplishments. The 6-4 235 quarterback will be the face of College Football in 2011, but will he be able to repeat his amazing 2010 season after losing his Head Coach?

If Cam Newton hadn't ran and passed through, over, and around defenders in the SEC then Luck would have walked out of Times Square in December with a Heisman Trophy. The quarterback carried the Cardinal to an 12-1 season, a top 5 ranking and an dominating 40-12 Orange Bowl win over ACC Champs Virginia Tech. Luck's numbers were outstanding last season with 3,338 passing yards, 32 touchdowns only 8 interception while completing 71% of his passes. Luck also scampered for 453 yards and 3 TD's in the season. Unbelievable numbers for a player without much support on the receiving end.

Luck looked like Peyton Manning during his spring practices, hitting receivers in stride while off balanced, being rushed and being taken down all while control every facet of the game. I have a few reasons why Luck will continue to improve his stats and continue to keep Stanford at the top of the College Football world this season despite the loss of mentor and coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jim Harbaugh was the heart and soul behind Stanford's change from a 1-11 team to a 12-1 team in four years and was the man that brought Luck to Palo Alto from Houston, Texas. Harbaugh, now a couple miles away from Stanford in San Francisco, was the man also behind the success of Andrew Luck but he was also helped. The man that lead the Cardinal offense was David Shaw, who replaced Harbaugh as Stanford's Head Coach in January. Keeping Shaw as Head Coach means that they keep the offense that Luck has thrived in the last few seasons. Now Luck just needs to find his receiving core..

Luck lost his top two receiving targets from last season but Stanford brings in an huge amount of talent from the last two season of recruiting and 1,000 yard rusher Stephan Taylor in the backfield. Luck's main targets will most likely be Chris Owusu, who was injured for half of last season, and Tight End Coby Fleener ,who caught 7 TD passes last season. The other receiver who need to step up and help out Luck is his room mate Griff Whalen. Overall Luck will have strong Tight Ends and some speedy running backs coming out of the backfield but will need his receivers to step up big time this season.

Luck will have to carry the Cardinal again this season and should lead them to another BCS Bowl game and if all goes well he will hopefully walk out of the season with a National Title and a Heisman Trophy. We'll see how Luck does throughout the season with all the pressure that will be thrown at him and all the complex zones he will have to decipher. I still believe that Luck will overcome the loss of his coach and all these struggles to repeat, if not exceed his 2010 season.

Andrew Luck Highlights

My All-American's for the 2010 season

Quarterback: Cam Newton, Auburn, Junior
Running Back: LaMichael James, Oregon, Sophomore
Running Back: Jordan Todman, UConn, Senior
Wide Receiver: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St, Sophomore
Wide Receiver: Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, Sophomore
Tackle: Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin, Senior
Tackle: Lee Ziemba, Auburn, Senior
Guard: Rodney Hudson, Florida St, Senior
Guard: John Moffitt, Wisconsin, Senior
Center: Chase Beeler, Stanford, Senior
All Purpose: Randall Cobb, Kentucky, Junior

End: Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson, Junior
End: Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue, Senior
Tackle: Nick Fairly, Auburn, Senior
Tackle: Stephen Paea, Oregon St, Senior
Linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Boston College, Sophomore
Linebacker: Von Miller, Texas A&M, Senior
Linebacker: Greg Jones, Michigan St, Senior
Cornerback: Patrick Peterson, LSU, Junior
Cornerback: Prince Amukamara, Nebraska, Senior
Safety: Tejay Johnson, TCU, Senior
Safety: Quinton Carter, Oklahoma, Senior

Special Teams:
Kicker: Alex Henery, Nebraska, Senior
Punter: Chas Henry, Florida, Junior
Kick Returner: Cliff Harris, Oregon, Sophomore


Top 5 Bowl Games

5. Rose Bowl                           TCU 21 Wisconsin 19

With the win TCU proved that they were a force to be reckoned with and proved that a playoff system is a necessary to insure that the best team wins the National Title. TCU also proved that their offense was good and their defense was even better. They held one of the best offenses in the nation to a measly 19 points. Andy Dalton aired it out for the Horn Frogs with 219 yards and a touchdown. TCU finished the season ranked 2nd in the polls and 13-0 while Wisconsin dropped to 7th.

4. Sugar Bowl                           Ohio St 31 Arkansas 26

Ryan Mallett led the Razorback from 28-7 deficit to a game that they could have easily been won by. Arkansas blocked a Ohio St punt and took over inside the Buckeyes 30 but failed to protect Ryan Mallet so he was sacked then pressured again and threw a forced throw and it was picked off. The five Ohio St suspended players in 2011 were huge in the win. Terrelle Pryor won MVP honors with 336 total yards (221 and 115) and two passing touchdowns, Devier Posey had 70 receiving yards and a touchdown, "Boom" Herron had 87 rushing yards and a touchdown, Solomon Thomas has the game clinching interception and Mike Adams anchored the O-line. Without those five players the Razorbacks would win in a landslide. Ohio St finished the year ranked 5th while Arkansas fell to 12th.

3. New Era Pinestripe Bowl            Syracuse 36 Kansas St 34

This game was a back and fourth battle between Syracuse and Kansas St which had 7 lead changes and was tied three times in the game. It ended when Kansas St scored a touchdown with a minute to go. They needed to go for two to tie up the game but got a celebration penalty, which was a bad call, and failed on the 20 yard two point conversion. Delone Carter led the the Orange with a career high 198 rushing yards and two scores and Ryan Nassib had 239 and three passing yards in the win. Syracuse finished with a a 8-5 compared to Kansas St's 7-6 record.

2. Music City Bowl                    North Carolina 30 Tennessee 27 2OT

The thriller between North Carolina and Tennessee was one that you won't forget for a while. It had overtimes, a questionable call, good offense and good defense. North Carolina ran out of time and the coaches were shaking hands but the officials reviewed it and figured out that their was a second left so North Carolina kicked a field goal as time expired to sent it into overtime. North Carolina eventually got the win in double OT thanks to a interception and a field goal but not without criticism. Shaun Draughn had 160 rushing yards and a touchdown and T.J. Yates had 234 passing yards and a touchdown in the win. North Carolina picked of three passes. North Carolina finished with a 8-5 record while Tennessee was below. 500 again this season with a 6-7 record.

1. National Title Game                               Auburn 22 Oregon 19

This wasn't the high scoring game that we expected it to be but instead two good defenses and a bad field that were playing in this one. The Auburn run defense was amazing while Oregon shutdown Heisman winner Cam Newton. Auburn won their second national title with a game ending 19 yard field goal and a 22-19 win. the game didn't have any points in the first quarter but the fourth quarter was a great one with fake plays, LaMichael James scoring with 2 minutes left the Auburn rolling down the field for the game winner. Michael Dyer was the star for the Tigers with 143 rushing yards and a huge run in the 4th quarter. Oregon was hoping that the highlighter green socks would blind the offense but they couldn't help out much on the final drive. Oregon will look to get their first National Title next season with several key players returning.
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