Does the Big 12 Have a Big Problem?

With the College Football Playoff in its first season the debate continues to rage about which teams should make the final four cut. For the Big 12, it’s two best teams could actually miss the playoff because of the decision the conference made in 2010.

The conference needs to bring back the Conference Championship to help in Playoff picture

The conference needs to bring back the Conference Championship to help in Playoff picture

Nobody could have foreseen it at the time but when the Big 12 eliminated the conference championship game after the 2010 season, it put up a major roadblock for it’s teams to reach the National Championship.

Despite both teams owning 10-1 records with one game to go, Baylor and TCU have been trying to crack the top four for the playoff all season. Even if both teams finish at 11-1, and despite both having a good strength of schedule, the conference’s lack of a title game will probably keep the two out of the playoff. Despite both teams having tougher schedules, the reason that a team like Ohio State could make the playoff over a Big 12 team is because of the extra win and game the conference championship provides.

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Despite great records and schedules, the lack of a conference championship game will probably keep a Big 12 team out of the playoff

Ohio State has had a much easier schedule and is considered to be in a weaker conference, however if they beat Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship, it will be hard to keep a 12- 1 team, especially one that beat a top 25 opponent in the conference championship out of the playoff. Conference like the SEC, ACC, Big 10, and Pac 12 all have conference championships with gives the champion of each conference an extra win to add to their resume for the playoff. If the Big 12 wants to have a better shot of getting into the playoff, it needs to bring back the conference championship game.

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New Flight Plan: Why The New York Jets Must Play Geno Smith

The Jets need to see if Geno Smith has anything to offer in the long-term

The Jets need to see if Geno Smith has anything to offer in the long-term

It’s a saying that has been used to describe the New York Jets 2014 season almost as much as “interception by Geno Smith”. That phrase is “the Jets have hit rock bottom”.

Here they are again! After being embarrassed for the second time this season by the Buffalo Bills in a 38-3 drubbing at Ford Field in Detroit on Monday Night Football, the 2-9 Jets have officially hit rock bottom. They’ve lost their best player to injury in Muhammad Wilkerson and had to turn from struggling veteran starter Michael Vick back to the incumbent Geno Smith. With five games left in this regrettable and lost season, the Jets should just let Geno Smith start the final games.

It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Rex Ryan will be gone after the season and the organization is due for a major overhaul. With these last five games basically being a tryout for next years squad it just makes sense to start Smith. After sitting on the bench for a few weeks and realizing that his time with the Jets is now in the eleventh hour, Smith needs to play well over the final five games to prove that he should be in the mix for the starting job in 2015.

With the Jets seemingly on their way to a top five pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, if Smith wants to have any shot in New York next season he needs to finish the season with an exclamation point rather then a question mark. As the Jets starter smith has guided New York to a 9-15 record while throwing 19 touchdowns to 31 interceptions. Not exactly the numbers a team wants from their so-called franchise quarterback.

If Smith wants any shot with the Jets, or in the NFL in the long-run, he needs to go from game manager to playmaker. If he can throw and run for touchdowns while eliminating the costly mistakes that he has become well-known for, he might have a shot in the NFL.

Don’t get me wrong, Smith has great physical tools including a plus arm and great feet, but it’s the mental side of the game that worries me. This has been well documented this season whether he’s late for a meeting, or pouting on the sidelines, Geno Smith needs to prove over the final five games that he is a leader and takes being the general of the offense seriously.

It’s a long shot to think that the Jets won’t address the quarterback position this offseason, but in the present they need to evaluate Smith. While many of the offensive woes can be placed on Smith, people must realize that the entire roster is a mess.

Outside of the lack of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, the Jets offensive line outside of Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold has been a disaster. Then of course is the defense which has cornerbacks that probably shouldn’t be on an NFL roster let alone starting for the team and New York’s first round pick Calvin Pryor who has played so bad that the team has benched him.

The Jets are a disaster. There’s no way around that. However, with the plethora of problems on both sides of the ball and in the front office, ifGeno Smith can show some signs at life, it could give the organization a year to build up the rest of the roster around Smith and then make a decision on what to do at quarterback next year.

Is Geno Smith's replacement in the 2015 NFL Draft? Could Mariota or Winston be the next QB for the Jets?

Is Geno Smith’s replacement in the 2015 NFL Draft? Could Mariota or Winston be the next QB for the Jets?

However, if Smith plays like he has throughout his first 24 starts, then the Jets scouts will once again be looking for a quarterback at the combine for the third time in six years. Do I hear the Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston Jets rumors off in the distance?

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Does Suspension Mark the End of Adrian Peterson Being the Best NFL Running Back

Will this suspension be the end of Peterson being an elite player?

Will this suspension be the end of Peterson being an elite player?

With the announcement that Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson will be suspended for the rest of the season, the Vikings franchise is at a critical crossroad. With three years remaining on the 96 $Million Deal that Peterson received in  2011, the Vikings will owe 13$ million to Peterson next year. However, if the team cuts him before the season it would only put a 2.4 $ Million cap penalty on the team in 2015.  While it may seem inconceivable that even after everything that has occurred this season that the Vikings would get rid of their franchise player, it’s time to move on.

Running backs are always tricky in the NFL. one season they can go from Pro Bowl players to the next an offensive hinderance. Minnesota could try to move Peterson for some draft picks, but with a 13$million dollar cap hit in 2015, the off the field issues, and the fact that he won’t play for almost a full season will make it almost impossible to move Peterson for a decent return. Instead, the Vikings should look to rebuild around their young quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater and continue to build around the strong young nucleus of players on the roster.

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s better to get rid of a player one year early rather than a year too late. Peterson may have taken off almost the entire season, which some will view as a rest period for the running, but he’s still had plenty of wear on his tires. He’s already passed the 2,000 carry mark in his career, a barometer many coaches around the NFL view as the peak of a running back’s career and after that milestone many  running backs are on the downside of their career. Peterson will also turn 30 in March, another infamous landmark for NFL backs that indicates the beginning of decline.

Peterson's day in court might have been the final straw in Minnesota

Peterson’s day in court might have been the final straw in Minnesota

Can Peterson still be effective? Of course, but it’s unfair to assume that he will be the great runner he has been. Peterson can not handle the load or be the sole focal point of an offense. Where Peterson will play in 2015 is still a distant thought but it will be interesting to see if he is on a new team, what role will he play?

As for the Vikings, this is not a total loss. They still have a young developing quarterback and will have more than 10 $Million under the cap if they release Peterson. Let’s not forget that despite his greatness Peterson has only one playoff win as a Viking with three playoff losses. Unfortunately, running backs can get a team to the post season, but in today’s NFL a team needs a quarterback to win in the playoffs. So for the Minnesota Vikings, it’s time to move on from Peterson. Even if he still has a good year or two left in the tank, the team needs to prepare for the long-term because they are not a Super Bowl contender.

 

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Time to Go! John Idzik Needs to go as the New York Jets General Manager

If John Idzik does not address the cornerback position this week for the New York Jets he needs to be removed from the organization immediately. What is happening in New York is ridiculous. After failing to resign Antonio Cromartie or bring in an outside free agent cornerback, John Idzik has instead left both Rex Ryan and the New York Jets franchise out to dry.

With Milliner's injury, if Idzik still refuses to sign help at cornerback then he deserves to be fired

With Milliner’s injury, if Idzik still refuses to sign help at cornerback then he deserves to be fired

After Dee Milliner’s ruptured achilles this past weekend, the already thin cornerback position is now barren after New York’s top three cornerbacks on the depth chart are now gone. Dexter McDougle, a high Idzik draft pick, is out with an ACL tear and Dimitri Patterson went awol. Even if Idzik hasn’t purposefully tried to out Rex Ryan with an insufficient lineup, the fact that the rumor can exist is because of his actions as general manager. The Jets currently are $24 million dollars under the salary cap right now, the most in the NFL. Idzik, you can honestly look a Jets fan in the face right now and say you are doing everything you can with that much cap space available?

If John Idzik doesn’t sign a legitimate starter, and no Josh Thomas doesn’t count, then he deserves to be fired after the New England Patriots game. Who cares that the Jets are 1-5, if Idzik doesn’t sign a veteran player, which he should have done weeks ago, then he is basically giving Rex Ryan and Jets nation the middle finger by saying that he doesn’t care about this season.

There are plenty of options out there. Asante Samuels, Terrell Thomas, Jabari Greer, and Quentin Jammer are veterans who may be out of their prime, but at least are upgrades over the current roster. Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen have both given valiant efforts but they are out of their element. At best, Walls is a slot corner or a third or four option on the depth chart. Allen, on the other hand, is a versatile role player but is better suited to play safety. Listen, the Jets have many problems and while Geno Smith and Rex Ryan haven’t helped in 2014, the person to blame for the Jets disaster is Idzik.

What has John Idzik done for the Jets outside of drafting Sheldon Richardson? Let’s look at the 2013 Draft. Dee Milliner can’t stay on the field and he passed on Chance Warmack who could have helped shore up the woeful offensive line. He selected Geno Smith in round two, who the Jets organization maybe looking to move on from at the quarterback position at the end of the season.

Idzik's build so the Draft strategy was good in principle, bad in execution

Idzik’s build so the Draft strategy was good in principle, bad in execution

Idzik then proceeded to draft three offensive linemen in a row. Brian Winters has been a turnstile at left guard, Oday Aboushi will finally get a start this week, and William Campbell is gone. Not to mention in round three the Jets passed on wide receivers Terrance Williams and Keenan Allen, two receivers the Jets could have really used.

In 2014, Idzik once again said the Jets would build through the draft adding only Eric Decker, Michael Vick, and Chris Johnson in free agency. In Round one he took a very promising safety in Calvin Pryor, who has been a solid player. However, the Jets could have selected either Kelvin Benjamin or Brandin Cooks who have both become very good play-making receivers and who could have helped Geno Smith develop.

After a good pick in Jace Amaro in round two, the Jets draft feel to shambles. Once again Idzik drafted a cornerback with a history of injuries in Dexter McDougle who couldn’t even make it through training camp. Oh the next pick? Gabe Jackson who is establishing himself as a great young guard with the Raiders.

Then instead of trading up in the draft with the plethora of picks in the draft, Idzik stood pat and it looks that costed the Jets. Out of the last nine picks, five are no longer in the organization with only Trevor Reiley and suiting up for all six games. When you wanna build through the draft it doesn’t help that out of 19 picks in his tenure only six are starters while another six are no longer in the organization.

While Rex Ryan will probably be fired at the end of the season, there is no question that Idzik especially after the recent slew of injuries does nothing to help the team at the cornerback position, deserves to get the boot. It’s going to be a long season for New York, but if it wants to head in the right direction for 2015 it needs a new general manager who cares about the team calling the shots.

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Down With the Ship! Will Rex Ryan’s Faith in Geno Smith Cost Him His Job?

When Rex Ryan stood at the podium after another Jets loss this past Sunday, Jets fans were hoping for the words “Vick will start”. Instead they got a coach who dug in his heels for his quarterback and in the process only turned up the heat on his own coaching hot seat. Despite the pleas of “we want Vick” raining down from the Jets fans on Sunday afternoon the Jets head coach once again decided to stick with Geno when in reality Ryan has basically decided to go down with the ship.
“I’m confident in Geno. If Geno is healthy, Geno will start” said Rex in the press conference. Ryan refused to even say if Vick would be considered to play if Smith struggled again. Rex Ryan is without question one of the most player loyal coaches in the NFL. However, this loyalty could be his undoing.

Since John Idzik was announced as the New York Jets general manager Rex Ryan has been on thin ice. Don’t forget, it wasn’t until after the final game last season when it was announced that he would be back as head coach. With Woody Johnson already saying this is a playoff or bust season it is puzzling why Rex Ryan continues to have faith in Geno Smith after his quarterback continues to make big mistakes that have cost the Jets wins. Not to mention Geno appears to be cracking under pressure as he reportedly swore at a fan walking off the field on Sunday.

The worst part of all this? Looking back at these first four games people can make the strong case that the Jets should be 4-0. Instead Smith’s costly turnovers coupled with defensive collapses, a defense which is supposed to be Ryan’s baby, has left the Jets at 1-3.

Momentum is everything in the NFL, and right now Rex is going in the wrong direction. After those back to back AFC Championship appearances in his first two season Ryan has not been back to the playoffs and has a 23- 29 record over his past four seasons. Unless Idzik and Johnson have told Ryan that he is safe past this year, or that the plan is to develop Geno not matter what, then Rex needs to make the playoffs.

Unless Ryan turns the Jets around fast New York could be looking for anew head coach

Unless Ryan turns the Jets around fast New York could be looking for anew head coach

Let’s not forget outside of defense the Jets offense has been a disaster under Rex’s tenure. Who has Rex Ryan successfully developed as an offensive player? Sanchez? nope. Smith? not yet. What about Hill, Greene, or McKnight? Unfortunately despite Ryan’s great defensive mind he is still a defensive coordinator as a head coach. He refuses to take responsibility for the offense even though a head coach needs to be accountable for all assets of a football team. Can you blame Ryan for the holes in his roster especially at cornerback? No, but the roster has only been part of the problem. Most of the problems are costly penalties and turnovers.

Sure benching Vick could be a blow to Smith’s confidence, but at this point Ryan needs to send a message that if you don’t perform, you don’t play. It’s that simple as a coach if players aren’t performing and there is a talented player on the bench who can help the team’s performance, you have to let that player play. I know, I know, that Vick is no long-term solution, but if the Jets keep falling and are out of playoff contention early, it maybe time for New York to let Ryan walk.

Believe me, I personally love Rex Ryan and think he is a talented coach and a great defensive mind. Still, if he cannot turn this season around and stays with players who are hurting the team’s performance it maybe time for a new coach of the New York Jets.

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Washington Capitals Unveil New Winter Classic Uniforms

It’s almost time for the NHL to drop the puck for the 2014-2015 season. Before we know it hockey’s greatest regular season event, the Winter Classic will be here. This year the Washington Capitals will host the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park on News Year Day.

These Jerseys scream Patriotism

These Jerseys scream Patriotism

The Capitals will be in the Winter Classic for the second time in their franchise’s history and have unveiled their uniforms for the game. Keeping with the theme of the Winter Classic, the Capitals have gone for a vintage look and what look like a vintage sweater that could be from the team’s early history.

These uniforms defiantly scream patriotism with the red, white, and blue color scheme. The four white stripes on the socks and four white vertical stripes on the shoulder really help to make these jerseys pop. The white stars are also a subtle but great touch with two stars down each sleeve and three above the logo. Overall these are great uniforms, but the weak link for these sweaters is the logo.

The “Capitals” script in white looks good, but it washes out the blue W in the background. It the Capitals really wanted to hit a home run with these uniforms they would have made the W pop better. My suggestion would be to other outline the W with white so that it sticks out more or just eliminate the “Capitals” script and just leave the W but itself.

Overall these uniforms are a nice addition to the Winter Classic family and do a nice job paying homage to Washington’s hockey history and patriotism.

What do you think? Comment below!

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