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Towson @ Rhode Island: November 19, 2011

The Towson Tigers will wrap up their 2011 regular season tomorrow when they travel to Rhode Island to face the 3-7 Rams.

If the Tigers win at Rhode Island and Maine loses at New Hampshire on Saturday, Towson will win the CAA Championship.

If that scenario unfolds, the Tigers could very well lock up a first-round bye and a home playoff game in the FCS playoffs.

Yes, this team was 1-10 just one year ago.

Rhode Island comes into this game with a 3-7 (2-5 CAA) record. The Tigers are 8-2 (6-1 CAA) and are ranked 8th in the nation. I just don’t see Rhode Island standing toe-to-toe with the Tigers for 60 minutes.

Now it’s time for the Terrance West stats of the week…
West has 25 rushing touchdowns on the year, and is on pace to score 110 rushing touchdowns in his career (based on four 11-game seasons). Here is some perspective on how rare of a season he is having:

  • The most touchdowns ever scored by a freshman was 26 by Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern, 1998).
  • The all-time collegiate record for touchdowns scored in a career (FBS or FCS) is 89 by Brian Westbrook (Villanova, 1997-98, 2000-01).
  • The all-time best touchdown-per game average (in one season) is 2.7 touchdowns per game by Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State, 1984). West is currently averaging 2.5 touchdowns per game in 2011.

Folks…he is a true freshman.

Not much else needs to be said. The Tigers know what’s at stake.

Prediction: Towson 40, Rhode Island 13
.

Thanks for reading.

-Mike

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Towson vs. New Hampshire: November 12, 2011

Considering the special run the Towson Tigers football team is on, I figured I’d write a special college football post for you all.

For the second straight week, the Tigers will play the 7th ranked team in the FCS and a team that is also tied for the CAA lead. On Saturday at 3:30, #7 New Hampshire comes to Johnny Unitas Stadium to battle #12 Towson for sole possession of first place in the CAA.

As a matter of fact, if Maine loses to UMass and Towson beats New Hampshire, the Tigers will be CAA Champions.

I don’t know Rob Ambrose personally, but I will bet a large sum of money that he has been making his players aware of the rare opportunity they have this week.

Ambrose is also likely to have reminded his Tigers about how it’s time for a change in the New Hampshire series.

Out of all the games these two teams have played against each other, New Hampshire is 8-0 vs. Towson, outscoring the Tigers by a combined score of 302-120.

New Hampshire comes into town led by senior quarterback Kevin Decker and the league’s-leading passing attack (278.2 yards per game). Towson’s pass defense is ranked 4th.

Conversely, the Tigers are the top rushing team in the league, rushing for an average of 238.4 yards per game. The Wildcats’ run defense is ranked 10th.

I have a really hard time thinking the Wildcats will stop (or even contain) Terrance West and company, when the Tigers had their best rushing performance of the year last week, against an excellent Maine defense (334 yards rushing, 5 rushing TDs).

Speaking of West, he’s a true freshman that’s scored 21 rushing touchdowns this season. That’s already good for a seventh-place tie in school history (Noah Read).

With 13 more rushing touchdowns, West will have the school record for rushing touchdowns in a career (at his current pace, he’ll reach that mark at some point in the third game of next season).

Simply put, I don’t see New Hampshire being able to go toe-to-toe with the Tigers on Saturday afternoon. It’s senior day, Terrance West looks unstoppable and Towson has too much to play for to let this opportunity slip away.

The only thing I see keeping this game close is the kicking game for Towson. Even if the game isn’t close, they need to stop missing extra points. The Tigers have missed more extra points (3) than field goals (1) this season.

Still, I see the Tigers taking one more step toward the CAA Championship by getting their eighth win of the season on Saturday.

Prediction: Towson 44, New Hampshire 20.

Thanks for reading.

-Mike

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1st quarter power rankings

First, we apologize for the long layoff. We hope you’ve enjoyed the exciting NFL action so far, as records are being broken and the unexpected may be becoming the norm.

What better way to summarize the first quarter of the NFL season than to post power rankings.

Teams that have impressed me that I thought would have very little chance to win even a few games are the 49ers and the Redskins. Good coaching, a commitment to running the ball and a stout, underrated defense are ways these teams have gotten to a 3-1 record and first place in their respective divisions.

Other teams you thought would be good that have been very good so far are the Ravens, Packers and Patriots. The Ravens lead the league with a +67 net point differential and have forced 11 turnovers against the Steelers and Jets alone. The Packers are 4-0 and haven’t lost a step since their Super Bowl win ten months ago. Aside from a close loss to Buffalo in Week 3 (in which Tom Brady threw four interceptions and the Bills played really well), the Patriots are still clicking on offense.

Without further delay, here are how the 32 teams in the NFL stack up after the first four weeks of the 2011 season.

1. Green Bay Packers (4-0, 1-0)

  • Leading candidate for league MVP (Aaron Rodgers), depth everywhere; scary good.

2. Baltimore Ravens (3-1, 1-0)

  • The defense is playing out of its collective mind: 2nd in points allowed (57…TEN is 1st with 56 PA) and 1st in forced turnovers (14…3 of which resulting in a TD); Reed, Ngata, Suggs, Lewis are just the tip of the iceberg; offense is good and getting better; only loss to a not-so-bad-after-all Titans (3-1).

3. New Orleans Saints (3-1, 0-0)

  • Only loss being an opening-night shoot-out at Green Bay (which could very well be a preview of the NFC Championship game). Exceptional talent and leadership at QB and head coach. Defense needs some work, but will be fine.

4. New England Patriots (3-1, 1-1)

  • Tom Brady is on pace to throw for 6,212 yards. That’s not a typo. If he were to reach that mark, it would be 1,128 yards more than Dan Marino’s all-time record. As a matter of fact, only two players have ever thrown for 5,000 yards in a season (Marino, 1984; Drew Brees, 2008).

5. Detroit Lions (4-0, 1-0)

  • Unstoppable QB/WR combination and Suh is a beast that no one wants to play. They won six games all of last year.

6. Houston Texans (3-1, 1-0)

  • The defense is the strength of their team. That’s how good they are.

7. San Diego Chargers (3-1, 1-0)

  • Rivers is Rivers, Vincent Jackson and Ryan Matthews are both healthy and playing very well. Not to mention, Antonio Gates is hurt.

8. Buffalo Bills (3-1, 1-1)

  • First win against the Patriots in eight years. Fitzpatrick, Johnson and Jackson are dynamic.

9. New York Giants (3-1, 1-1)

  • Unbelievable amount of resiliency despite numerous key injuries. Good running game, a big-play wide receiver and a Super Bowl MVP at quarterback.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1, 1-0)

  • They will go as far as Josh Freeman goes.

11. Washington Redskins (3-1, 1-1)

  • I thought they’d be last, not first as they currently are, in the NFC East. Strong running game and a relentless defense. Still have room to grow.

12. Tennessee Titans (3-1, 0-1)

  • Matt Hasselbeck, not Chris Johnson, is the team MVP so far. Can they sustain their early success?

13. San Francisco 49ers (3-1, 1-0)

  • Since when does a first-year head coach take what the 49ers have and make it into a first place team? There could be something special brewing in San Fran.

14. New York Jets (2-2, 0-0)

  • Still have a top-notch defense that blitzes from all angles. Joe McKnight picked up where Brad Smith left off on special teams. Mangold needs to get healthy in a hurry, or else it will be a long season for the Jets.

15. Oakland Raiders (2-2, 1-0)

  • The Raiders have now won seven consecutive divisional games, dating back to last season. Darren McFadden is showing how dangerous he can be when healthy, and Hue Jackson is looking good in his first four games as Raiders head coach.

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2, 1-0)

  • Tony Romo is a gamer. Playing with a broken rib and without Miles Austin usually will result in losses. Their record could be a lot worse.

17. Atlanta Falcons (2-2, 0-1)

  • Loads of talent, but I’m not sold on Matt Ryan. Julio Jones was a really good pick, and he should continue to produce for the next decade.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2, 0-1)

  • Health is a huge concern, more so than the nine defensive starters over the age of 30 and their last place position in the AFC North. Not only is the offensive line hanging by a thread, but Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison were both seriously injured during the Texans game.

19. Chicago Bears (2-2, 0-1)

  • A duplicate of last season’s 13-3 record probably isn’t in the cards for this year’s team. But Julius Peppers and Devin Hester will always keep the opposition honest.

20. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2, 1-0)

  • Rookies A.J. Green and Andy Dalton have formed quite a tandem. Add in Jermaine Gresham and you could have sometime special for years to come.

21. Cleveland Browns (2-2, 0-1)

  • So far in 2011, Peyton Hillis has rushed for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. At this time last season, he’d rushed for 322 yards and 4 touchdowns.

22. Arizona Cardinals (1-3, 0-1)

  • A bad start can be overcome in a bad division. Larry Fitzgerald, Beanie Wells and Kevin Kolb should be able to right the ship fairly quickly in Arizona.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3, 0-1)

  • Jason Babin leads the league in sacks (7.0) and LeSean McCoy is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Other than that, the Eagles have problems.

24. Carolina Panthers (1-3, 0-0)

  • Cam Newton is third in the league in passing yardage (1,386), but they aren’t winning games.

25. Denver Broncos (1-3, 0-1)

  • Rookie Von Miller may be their best player.

26. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3, 0-1)

  • Losing your best offensive and defensive players (Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry) for the year is something not many teams can come back from.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3, 1-0)

  • Now you know why fans don’t show up to games.

28. Seattle Seahawks (1-3, 1-1)

  • Thank goodness for Pete Carrol’s optimism and energy.

29. Indianapolis Colts (0-4, 0-1)

  • How valuable is Peyton Manning? Watch the Colts play and you’ll have your answer.

30. Minnesota Vikings (0-4, 0-1)

  • Losing leads and not giving enough carries to the best back in football is not a formula for success.

31. St. Louis Rams (0-4, 0-0)

  • 27th in total offense, 26th in total defense. Help.

32. Miami Dolphins (0-4, 0-1)

  • Cameron Wake, Brandon Marshall and Jake Long wish they were dreaming. Premier talent suck on a bad football team. By the way, you still have to play the Patriots, the Jets twice and the Bills twice.

Alright, let the comments begin. Please feel free to reply with any feedback.

Thanks for reading.

-Mike

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Tweets of the week: week 9

As you know, every Thursday we do the “Tweet of the Week”. Well, in light of this very eventful week in the NFL, we’re going to feature a few tweets.

The first was a Re-Tweet from NFL insider, Adam Schefter, regarding Randy Moss and some of his reactions and things he said during a press conference which included Moss stating that he will be interviewing himself from now on. Shortly thereafter, the Vikings waived him.

  • @Adam_Schefter Another intriguing question. RT @Elijosdad: When should we expect Randy Moss to ask Randy Moss how he feels about being waived?

The Second tweet of the week comes from Tennessee Titans Safety, Michael Griffin. His tweet really shows how much the Titans are glad to have star WR Randy Moss, and what his presence can do for the team.

  • @MikeGriff33 Welcome Randy Moss to the Titans. Prayers answered.

The final tweet of the week comes from Buffalo Bills CB Reggie Corner, who recently just joined twitter, so we’re giving him a shout out (plus his tweet is rather comical). You’ve got to love the old school show MARTIN with Martin Lawrence, and don’t forget about Sheneneh.

  • @reggiecorner27 when push come to shuve’ and there is nuthn on t.v, what do u do… i know…put on a MARTIN DVD(any season), never can never go wrong….

Alright I’m out. Enjoy your day.

Bobby

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Favre retires?

Brett Favre is calling it quits, according to the Star-Tribune.

After a loss to the Saints in last year’s NFC Championship game that left him beaten and battered unlike any other game in his career, the resilient Favre sounded like he had finally had enough.

Favre’s accolades and records are well-known:

  • passes completed: 6,083 (1st all-time)
  • passes attempted: 9,811 (1st all-time)
  • passing yardage: 69, 329 (1st all-time)
  • passing TDs: 497 (1st all-time)
  • passing yards per game: 239.9 (5th all-time)
  • passes intercepted: 319 (1st all-time)
  • times sacked: 503 (2nd all-time)
  • regular season games started: 285 (2nd all-time)

Certainly, he is a first-ballot hall of fame quarterback. He won three consecutive MVP awards from 1995-1997. He’s a Super Bowl winning quarterback (XXXI, 1996).

However, no one in the history of football has thrown more passes to the wrong team than Favre has. Favre’s first professional pass was an interception. His last passes as a Packer, Jet and Viking were all interceptions.

Even still, perhaps what he will be best known for was his dogged durability. Favre has started in 285 consecutive games (309 counting playoff games). The next closest player on that list is Peyton Manning, with 192 (210 counting playoffs) consecutive starts.

Favre’s decision is reportedly hinging upon the lack of strength in his surgically repaired left ankle. Even if he came back, he’d be hard-pressed to duplicate his success in 2009 .

“The last-second touchdown pass on which Greg Lewis made a remarkable catch against San Francisco and the missed field goal by Baltimore with 2 seconds left come to mind as examples of games that could have gone the other way.” “What are the odds that I have another season like that, even if I play well?” Favre asked.-Judd Zulgad, startribune.com

19 years is a long time for someone to work in any profession. It’s a virtual eternity for an NFL QB. According to the NFLPA and the Sporting News, the average career for an NFL player is four years. That stat alone tells you how much Favre loves football.

Where do the Vikings go from here? They are essentially right where they started before Favre was on their team; choosing between Tavares Jackson or Sage Rosenfels.

No matter who starts for the Vikings, and even if Favre comes back from retirement for a third time, the Vikings will be fighting for a wild card birth. The division winners in the NFC should be: Packers, Saints, Cowboys and 49ers. Atlanta should definitely claim one of the wild card spots, if not win the NFC South outright.

Favre played 19 years for four different teams, and he played in 285 consecutive regular season games. No matter how you think of him, you’ve got to respect him.

Thanks for reading.

-Mike

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Who’s the best? Part II

Now, here are the best players in each division, and the best overall player in the NFL.

AFC EAST

  • Jets: Darrelle Revis, CB

AFC NORTH

  • Ravens: Haloti Ngata, DL

AFC SOUTH

  • Colts: Peyton Manning, QB

AFC WEST

  • Chargers: Philip Rivers, QB

NFC EAST

  • Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware, OLB

NFC NORTH

  • Vikings: Adrian Peterson, RB

NFC SOUTH

  • Saints: Drew Brees, QB

NFC WEST

  • 49ers: Patrick Willis, MLB

TOP 5 overall football players in the NFL:

5. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

4. Patrick Willis, MLB, San Fransisco 49ers

3. Peyton Manning*, QB, Indianapolis Colts

2. Haloti Ngata, DL, Baltimore Ravens

The best overall football player in the NFL today is:

1. Drew Brees*, QB, New Orleans Saints

*Super Bowl XLIV:

  • Brees : 32/39 (82%), 288 yds., 2 TD
  • Manning: 31/45 (69%), 333 yds., 1 TD, 1 INT

Thanks for reading.

-Mike

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Who’s the best? Part I

So many times fans argue about which team or which player is better than the other. Since the Super Bowl is a decisive way of determining the best team in the NFL, how can you tell who the best player is? Sure, that’s what the MVP award is for, but that doesn’t take into account linemen, many defensive players, voting independent of media bias, etc.

So, here are the best players from each team in the NFL:

AFC EAST

  • Bills: Leodis McKelvin, CB
  • Dolphins: Brandon Marshall, WR
  • Jets: Darrelle Revis, CB
  • Patriots: Wes Welker, WR

AFC NORTH

  • Bengals: Carson Palmer, QB
  • Browns: Joshua Cribbs, WR
  • Ravens: Haloti Ngata, DL
  • Steelers: Troy Polamalu, SS

AFC SOUTH

  • Colts: Peyton Manning, QB
  • Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
  • Texans: Andre Johnson, WR
  • Titans: Chris Johnson, RB

AFC WEST

  • Broncos: Elvis Dumervil, OLB
  • Chargers: Philip Rivers, QB
  • Chiefs: Jamaal Charles, RB
  • Raiders: Nnamdi Asomugha, CB

NFC EAST

  • Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware, OLB
  • Eagles: Trent Cole, DE
  • Giants: Eli Manning, QB
  • Redskins: London Fletcher, MLB

NFC NORTH

  • Bears: Devin Hester, WR
  • Lions: Calvin Johnson, WR
  • Packers: Aaron Rodgers, QB
  • Vikings: Adrian Peterson, RB

NFC SOUTH

  • Buccaneers: Barrett Ruud, ILB
  • Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB
  • Panthers: Jon Beason, MLB
  • Saints: Drew Brees, QB

NFC WEST

  • 49ers: Patrick Willis, MLB
  • Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, WR
  • Rams: Steven Jackson, RB
  • Seahawks: Lofa Tatupu, MLB

Here is the breakdown of the best players of each team, by position:

  • 7 wide receivers
  • 7 quarterbacks
  • 5 running backs
  • 5 inside linebackers
  • 3 cornerbacks
  • 2 defensive lineman
  • 2 outside linebackers
  • 1 safety

What can we deduce from this information? We know that the NFL is a passing league. It is evidenced by the salaries of quarterbacks and wide receivers. Also, the NFL has tailored rules to benefit the passer and pass-catcher (seemingly, at least).  Tied for first place: wide receivers and quarterbacks.

We also know successful football is largely dependent on a consistently productive running game, as well as linebackers who can consistently shoot gaps and stop the run.  Tied for second place: running backs and inside linebackers.

This was helpful, but to really find out who is the best player in the NFL, check out Part II in my next post.

Thanks for reading.

-Mike

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