Okay, there are just way too many running backs declaring for the NFL Draft.
What, are classes at the nation’s largest universities getting harder or something? No, no one’s surprised that Reggie Bush declared early; he’s probably going to be the first overall pick. Nor can I quibble with Vince Young (kind of an RB in QB’s sweatshirt (lưới bảo vệ cầu thang), if you know what I mean), after his amazing Rose Bowl performance. I have to take some umbrage at LenDale White’s decision to go. Bush’s backfield mate could’ve had the Southern Cal spotlight all to himself with Reggie out of the picture, and, barring injury, would almost certainly have gone higher in ’07 than in ’06.
Now comes the cavalcade of huh? Laurence Maroney out of Minnesota? Hm. Nice back, lots of yards. But do it on the big stage, Larry. Brian Calhoun of Wisconsin? Is he worried his meteoric, out-of-nowhere 2005 will vanish if he hangs around lovely Madison one more year? Maurice Drew out of UCLA? I mean, he’s a nice college player, but he’s (maybe) 5’8″, 205 lbs. He’s Kevin Faulk. Demetris Summers out of South Carolina? (And I do mean out of South Carolina: Steve Spurrier kicked the kid off the Gamecocks football team after his freshman year; if you’re too dirty for Steve Superior, you are mighty dirty.) Demetris. Buddy. Seems as though you could do with a little Marcus-Vick-style maturation before setting your sights on Maurce-Clarett-land, huh?
The bottom line here is: NFL teams aren’t looking to pay running backs a lot of money anyway, which is why they typically wait and wait and wait to take them on draft day. (Who can forget Steven Jackson’s precipitous fall out of the first round two years ago?) Combine that with the fact that, like, everyone is coming out early, and some of these fellows aren’t going to get drafted until the second day. Is school really that bad?
What did the handicapping world think of the Wild Card weekend in the NFL?
Bob Aggarwal, Professional Handicapper’s League: Big surprise in my mind as home cooking did not result in home wins. Also, very surprised by the play of the New York Giants. Out-coached and outright losers as three-point favorites at the Meadowlands? We really had that game pegged as being much closer. The Carolina Panthers will give Chicago all they can handle Saturday. As far as the Pats go, they are really turning things around. They are not quite as good-looking as they were last year during their championship run, but they’re awfully close. Their secondary is certainly coming around. The Washington Redskins are doing it with smoke and mirrors. 120 yards in offense will not get you past the Seahwaks. They have to play much better on that side of the ball next week or they will be heading back to the nation’s capital losers.
Greg Jorssen, BoDog.com: The underdogs and the favorites split their games; each winning twice. Thus handicapping world breathed a sigh of relief early on in the playoffs. Those that played the Under last the weekend made out pretty good. That’s not surprising, considering this time of year finds defenses kicking it up a notch. In fact, the four teams that were victorious held their opponents to a combined 30 points. We’re seeing an interesting development with the divisional playoff games this weekend. Last year during the divisional playoffs, the favorites went 4-0 straight up and 3-1 against the spread, and the books did extremely well. We’re seeing similar betting trends for this weekend; thus if the home teams do well and cover, we will see another strong result. It appears that bettors have fallen in love with the one-week wonder and an apparent hate on for the home teams who have been the best team all year! Very interesting trend indeed!
Should Seattle and Indianapolis really be nearly double-digit favorites over Washington and Pittsburgh next week? Especially in the case of Indy, am I crazy for thinking that seems high?
GJ, BoDog.com: I think teaser bettors will be drooling over these two games. The Seahawks and Colts both should win their games, but 9 and 10 points seems pretty high. The Steelers are on a roll, while the Colts limp into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak (yes, I know they beat the Cards, but barely; that still counts as a loss in my books!) and have not played a game that means anything in the standings since Week 15. Then again, they have Peyton Manning steering the ship and they are the same team that went 13-0 after going 0-5 in the pre-season, thus should be no problem dusting off the cobwebs and getting the team refocused. As for the Seahawks, the books opened up high due to the inability of the Redskins’ offense against the Bucs and the injury to Clinton Portis. If they can capitalize on Seahawk turnovers and hold Alexander early, this could prove to be a hard fought and close affair.
BA, Professional Handicapper’s League: The Colts have not played a meaningful game in six weeks. So no, I don’t think you are crazy for thinking this line is too high. Their offense is based on rhythm, meaning they could easily be out-of-synch for a quarter or two. On the other hand, they could look like the Colts of Weeks 1-14. If so, the Steelers are in for a long day, and the line would actually look a bit low. A tough call on that one, on Sunday. Seattle is an awfully good football team. I think this line is based more upon the fact the Skins are really doing it with smoke and mirrors. How long can you rely on opportunistic defense to win you ballgames? Also, 120 yards out of your offense won’t get you past the Seahawks. In this ballgame initially I don’t think that line is high enough.
What do you think of Vince Young’s decision to enter the NFL Draft early?
Where do you see him going, and do you think he’ll be an effective pro?
BA, Professional Handicapper’s League: Young’s stock could not be any higher than what it is now. After that Rose Bowl performance, he had to go. I see him going to the Titans at #3 and being an awfully good pro. Unlike Michael Vick, he already has an established arm. He showed that by leading the nation this year in passing efficiency. This also tells us he has the capability to make solid smart decisions.
GJ, BoDog.com: What better time to turn pro than being the talk of the nation and stealing the spotlight away from Bush and Leinart? His performance brought him from a projected #9 or #10 overall pick down to #2 or #3, thus you can’t fault him for jumping over to the NFL. I think it would be wise for the Saints to go with the quarterback that is more NFL ready right now, which is Matt Leinart. Tennessee then will take Vince Young, much to the delight of Steve McNair, who has mentored Young over the past years. Young’s mobility will make him a very good fit for the Titans. Yes, his throwing motion is unconventional and a lot has been said about how we will suffer in the NFL because of his style. Forget all that. Young led the nation in passing with a 168.6 rating this year and passed for over 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns. Better numbers than Leinart. We witnessed greatness in the Rose Bowl, and witnessed a legend being born.
Changing sports for just a moment, which college basketball team is more for real: Texas or Villanova?
GJ, BoDog.com: Both teams are definite powerhouses. I picked the revitalized Longhorns at the start of the season to battle Duke all season long. Their early season set-back to Duke seemed to stagger them, losing the next game to Tennessee. Since then, they have won five straight, including an impressive win in Memphis. People are starting to talk again about a back-to-back-to-back championship for Texas (baseball, football, and now possibly basketball). Villanova had their first loss at home to West Virginia, then slugged out a hard-fought overtime victory Wednesday night at Rutgers. The guard-heavy Wildcats have already shown that they play extremely well against Big 12 schools, with impressive victories over Kansas and Oklahoma. Have fun at the game! Should be quite a battle.
BA, Professional Handicapper’s League: I have Villanova as the better team only because they are more experienced and boast more weapons. Aside from Tucker and Gibson, the Longhorns don’t know exactly where their offense will come for night in and night out. Sure, Aldridge will get you some points and Buckman will battle underneath, but the Cats have four players that can light it up on any given night.
write by Jimmy Spencer