2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Linebackers

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

As the game of football continues to evolve, the linebacker position continues changing with it. With different defensive fronts, hybrid schemes and better athletes comes a different direction for the position. You have LBs that are strictly on the field to provide a pass rush, and are basically players who were defensive ends, but are too light to play DE anymore. You have the “traditional” LBs, who stay in their spots and rack up the tackle stats, playing sideline-to-sideline. It seems like every team has a different fit, and therefore, a different set of ‘Backers to play with. This is another loaded position in the Draft, with plenty of names fighting it out for first-round spots.

1. Scooby Wright, ILB/OLB, Arizona – Wright isn’t someone that you would refer to as an elite level athlete. He runs a 4.65 40, which isn’t bad at all, but compared to the 4.4’s and 4.5’s that some LBs run, his number doesn’t jump out at you. What he doesn’t have in elite athleticism, he makes up for it with world class instincts and a motor that simply doesn’t stop. When you watch an Arizona game, you’d swear that Wright ends each of them with 20+ tackles. He’s around the football like he was playing on offense, whether it’s making tackles, stuffing the run, pressuring the quarterback, forcing fumbles, and so on. His 2014 numbers (163 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, six forced fumbles) are what your LBs would get if you fired up a season in NCAA Football on your PS3.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

If there’s anything people can point to and say Wright needs to improve at it, it would be his pass coverage. Some would tell you it doesn’t matter much, though, because that isn’t what his game is. He can sometimes fall into a one-dimensional spell when it comes to his pass rush moves, but that is something that he can easily improve on, making him an even better prospect for 2016. [Read more…]

College Football’s First Four Out: A Case for Each

By Andrew Canan
PSDC Contributor

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

With just rivalry week and conference championship games left, it appears the final eight teams are set in place. The four who are currently in the College Football Playoff, if the season were to end today, and the four who are on the outside looking in. Of the four currently in the playoff, three of them seem to have their place solidified. Alabama, who is arguably playing the best football of any team in the country; Oregon, who has beaten their opponents by an average of 23.7 points since their upset loss to Arizona; and Florida State who, despite their numerous comebacks and close calls, is undefeated and is the reigning college football champ. Of course, each still faces the possibility of being defeated in their rivalry game, conference championship game or both but win and they’re in. [Read more…]

Numbers Don’t Lie: An Unusual Approach to Predicting the NCAA Playoff

By Jay Cox
PSDC Contributor

The Playoff! After all of our complaining about the BCS (even though the BCS only got it wrong once) its finally here. Harry, I’ve reached the top!

Home-Alone-2

 

But what does it really mean? Not much in my opinion. To make it a team probably can’t lose more than one game, it will help to win a conference championship and the four teams will most likely be ranked within the top 5 or 6. What has changed though is that it allows a guy like me to pick four teams that can win it rather than just two. Now every talking head in the next week and a half will pick their four teams based off of their knowledge because they know more than you. So instead of telling you why I’m right and you are not, I decided to take a different approach.

The Method

I picked four teams, or four teams picked me, based off of trends from the five previous National Champions. I looked at returning starters for all five previous champions and found the common denominator. Each of the previous teams returned at least 12 starters. I also looked at returning positions. All five past winners returned at least one starter in these six positions: WR, OG, OT, WLB, CB, SS. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – James Bond, Ohio State And Your First Time

By Stephen Thomas
PSDC Funnyman and Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

I recently saw “The Spy Who Loved Me” on TV. Now, as a James Bond fan I know there are multiple Bond films that are better, but this was the first one I ever saw, way back when. Granted, this was in the 70’s, a time period my teenage daughter thinks we spent mostly wagon-training westward and fighting off injun attacks, and by comparison to today the special effects were pee wee football vs the zone blitz, but it was my first, and I love it, so shut up. [Read more…]

Adams, Anderson Propel UCLA to Pac-12 Title

By Aaron De La Torre
PSDC Writer

The stage was set for one of college basketball’s most compelling rematches of the season: UCLA’s high powered offense (82 points per game, 10th most nationally) against Arizona’s stalwart defense which allows the fewest points per possession of any team in the nation. In the first game between the conference foes, the then-No. 1 Wildcats were able to fend off a late game push to secure a 79-75 road victory at Pauley Pavilion.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

Coming into Saturday’s contest, both teams had breezed through their first two matchups of the Pac-12 conference tournament. [Read more…]

Fools Rush In – A Semi-Serious Assessment of Modern Day Court Rushing

By Tommy Guastaferro
PSDC Writer

A couple weeks ago I attended a UNC-Wake Forest game at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, NC, home of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Tar Heels were then-ranked 19th and had suffered losses to NCAA powerhouses, Belmont and UAB. Wake Forest came out victorious, which means that as with EVERY minor upset these days…the court was REQUIRED to be rushed. Sadly, the Wake student section who rushed the floor was not even able to cover up the Demon Deacon mascot that is painted on center court.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

I went to college. I get it. You pregame hard before the game with all the Beast (I guess being Wake students, they probably pregamed with Stella Artois) you can afford, then sneak in a flask, and if you have any reason whatsoever…you rush the court. However, you damn well better make sure you have enough people to cover up the center mascot. [Read more…]

Andy Enfield and Steve Alford: A Tale of Two Coaches

By Aaron De La Torre
PSDC Contributor

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Photo Credit: Associated Press

During Andy Enfield’s welcome press conference back in April of this year, USC athletic director Pat Haden stated “USC basketball should be relevant, but let’s be honest it has not been relevant for a while.”

Since the 2001-2002 season, USC’s men’s basketball team has earned a spot in the NCAA tournament five times while advancing past the second round only once in 2007. The Trojans were forced to vacate every win during the 2007-2008 season due to the revelation that then-highly touted freshman O.J. Mayo had received improper benefits.  [Read more…]

Top Five College Basketball Teams from the Last 20 Years

By Dennis Alfonsin
PSDC Contributor

1996-kentucky-basketball

The game of men’s college basketball has evolved tremendously over the last two decades. We have seen a new wave of hall of fame caliber coaches come to surface. Leaders like Bill Self, John Calipari, Billy Donovan and others have established strong coaching pedigrees. There have been more teams added to the already beautiful NCAA Tournament, with one of those teams making a run to the Final Four when VCU stunned the field in 2011. The most notable difference between now and 20 years ago is what fans know as the “one-and-done” student athlete (I use that last term loosely). The year 2005 saw the NBA determine that in order to be draft eligible, an athlete must be at least 19 years old and one year removed from high school. This would change the NCAA forever. So I wondered, amidst all of this change over the last 20 years, what are the top five teams during that period?

5. 2008 University of Kansas Jayhawks

The 2008 Jayhawks had a team that was characterized by the mixture of young talent and experienced leadership. Upperclassmen such as Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun had several times been the rigors of the regular season and tournament play. The 2007 team advanced all the way to the Elite 8 before being bounced by a strong UCLA team. There were the youngsters like the confident point guard Sherron Collins, the polished forward Darrell Arthur, and the towering Cole Aldrich. The 2008 version of the Kansas Jayhawks had a well-rounded team poised to make a run. [Read more…]

Stanford Back on Track with Win over UCLA

By William Boor
PSDC Writer

For the third consecutive week, one of the nation’s premiere college football games took place on the West coast.

Two weeks ago, Stanford held off Washington. Last week, Oregon made a statement on the road.

On Saturday, in a match-up of two teams in the Top-15, the Cardinal notched a 24-10 win over No. 9 UCLA.

UCLA-Stanford

Stanford’s dream of a national championship season took a turn for the worst when it fell at Utah last weekend, but a win over a strong UCLA team puts the Cardinal right back in the discussion – although they will still need a bit of help. [Read more…]

Pac-12 College Football Week 7 Storylines

By William Boor
PSDC Contributor

Believe it or not, Week 7 of the college football season is already upon us.

Although it feels like the season just started, conference play is in full swing. Every Pac-12 team is in action this season and there are a few things to keep your eye on.

A new era
The post-Lane Kiffin era will begin on Thursday night when USC plays host to Arizona. It is yet to be determined if the Ed Orgeron coaches the Trojans beyond 2013, but either way, fans in Los Angeles hope the post-Kiffin Trojans perform similar to the pre-Kiffin ones.

Ed-Orgeron

Cream of the Crop
Everyone knows Oregon is a good football team. The question though, is how good? The Ducks are 5-0 and have scored 50 or more points in every game this season, but have yet to be tested. Saturday’s road bout against Washington is a big test for the Ducks and also will provide some clarity as to how good the Ducks truly are.

Repeating as conference champions is not easy and Stanford is going to get everyone’s best shot this season. After a narrow escape last week, it will be interesting to see how the Cardinal respond on the road against Utah. [Read more…]

Top 50 Players in College Football for 2013 – No. 36: Brett Hundley

By David Parks
PSDC NCAA Sports Editor

No. 36 – Brett Hundley (So.), QB – UCLA

UCLA QB Brett Hundley

Few players were more underrated – yet more important to their teams as Hundley was last season. Hundley shattered nearly every freshman UCLA quarterbacking record in 2012, leading the Bruins to their best season since winning 10 games in 2005. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing: Last Minute Prep 7/11/13

By Stephen Thomas
PSDC Funnyman and Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

Stephen Thomas’ brand new CD “Magic Wife Dust” is now available HERE! His sports-humor commentary can be heard nationwide, weekdays on The Nick Bonsanto Show on the Sports Byline USA radio network. You can subscribe to the Here’s The Thing podcast on iTunes and/or Podbean for free.  The transcripts will appear here.

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

This is my last day at home for awhile, I head out tomorrow morning to take my daughter to multiple college volleyball camps across the US.  It’s a fantastic Dad thing, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. However, today being the last day at home, I obviously have eleventy million things to do before we leave.

See, Here’s The Thing; No matter how much we plan, it always seems as if multiple things come up – things that absolutely cannot wait – right before we begin a new activity.  Amazing as it may seem, NFL training camps are only a couple of weeks away, so I’m sure that players, coaches, and front offices are currently scrambling around to complete final preparations for camp.  In addition to finalizing the playbook, and getting the practice field and camp facilities into shape, there are a multitude of other items that need to be addressed, such as thinking about which players Twitter account will be the most troubling, finding out who won the office pool for total number of team DUI’s in the offseason, and answering the legal question “Does bail money count against a guy’s cap number?” Luckily for me, I don’t have any of those concerns, but as I prepare to take my daughter to camps at The University Of Notre Dame, Sports Performance Academy, and UCLA, I want to make sure to leave no preparatory stone unturned, as this will be her first time this far away from home on her own. It’s new ground and though she’d never admit it, that can be scary; I know how she feels, because my wife left me in charge of getting our daughter properly packed.  She’s usually my supervisor on these sorts of things, but today she didn’t even leave me a list. That’s right, I’m on my own, folks, and I’m freaking terrified.  Without the site foreman here to guide me, I can definitely see a few nights on the couch in my future, which might be what she’s after. She’s sneaky that way.

Look, the point is, NFL teams are almost certainly working 18 hour days right now, because as THEIR supervisor, we the fans have left them in charge and time is growing short to destroy emails relating to arrests.  As for me, I have a lot of stuff to do today, so I might not have time to write and record a new episode of Here’s The Thing.  I don’t know. We’ll see.

Find me on Facebook as Comedian Stephen Thomas, or follow me on Twitter @15Stephen15.  For The Nick Bonsanto Show, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.