SportsNet - November 2012
Johnny Manziel has rejuvenated the Texas A&M football with a stellar freshman campaign this season, and even first year head coach Kevin Sumlin is quite surprised. Sumlin didn't even make a decision on his starting quarterback until August, when he finally chose the freshman out of Tyler, Texas. Ever since then, Manziel has quite literally been on fire every weekend at the helm. He has slowly but surely garnered a strong backing of Heisman support as the season is almost to a close, and is having a historically remarkable season considering the opposition he has been facing, albeit as a freshman.
1.) Freshman Firsts
Manziel has confused opponents every week with his feet or through the air. He will finish the season as the first SEC player, first freshman and fifth NCAA FBS player to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000. Last Saturday against Sam Houston State he racked up his eighth straight 300-yard game, and permanently put himself in the Texas A&M record books for most offensive yards in a season (4,161).
2.) SEC Speed
Mark Richt is entering uncharted territory as UGA head coach. A win Saturday would set up a showdown 316 and I-20 in the Georgia Dome against Alabama. Next Saturday's SEC Championship will also be an unofficial NCAA championship semi-final.
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones leads the most impressive defense Richt has ever coached and has had opposing quarterbacks scrambling for their lives since he arrived in Athens. However, Richt has to abandon his run-first, run-second and throw third-and-long strategies that have plagued his offenses in big games.
Murray leads the nation in passing efficiency and his offense is set to eclipse school records for points and yards per game. The Bulldogs lighting and thunder Gurshall duo consisting of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall comprise the best best backfield since Herscel Walker was winning Heismans in the early '80's.
The Big Ten is bordering on wishbone-like irrelevancy. It’s only right that Ohio State be on the verge of the most irrelevant undefeated season in college football history. Despite their three-losses, Michigan is on par with the Buckeyes even without their starting quarterback Denard Robinson.
A nerve injury to Robinson has rendered him incapable of throwing downfield but given his propensity for lobbing jump balls that may not be such a bad thing.
After spending three years as Shoelace’s understudy, Gardner has proven himself to be an improvement over the Wolverines diminutive senior.
Braxton Miller is Shoelace 2.0 in the sense that both are smallish dual threats with extreme limitations as pinpoint passers but who comprise about 80 percent of their respective offenses playbooks. However, as much punishment as Miller has taken this season, it pales in comparison to the ox-like workload Robinson carried in his sophomore campaign.
(2010- Robinson: 2500 yards passing, 1,700 rushing) (2012- Miller: 1,850 yards passing, 1,200 rushing)
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints Preview: 49ers' Pass-Rusher Aldon Smith Set To Dominate Drew Brees
Aldon Smith can again dominate when the San Francisco 49ers take on the New Orleans Saints. Smith can attack the weak edges of the Saints' offensive line and terrorise quarterback Drew Brees.
Smith is coming off a monster game in Week 11. He dominated the Chicago Bears on Monday Night football.
The second-year rush end logged 5.5 sacks. That gives him a league-leading 15 for the season, exceeding his rookie tally of 14.
Smith is arguably the best pure pass-rusher in the NFL. His long arms and natural bend, explosive first-step quickness and deceptive power, make him a nightmare for offensive tackles.
That's bad news for Saints duo Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief. The strength of the Saints' front five is along the interior, with guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs.
However, they have a definite weakness on the edges. Bushrod and Strief lack range and are awkward movers.
Neither is able to shift their feet quickly and turn to deal with speed around the corner. That's not the kind of problem blockers can afford to have against Smith.
Revenge is one of those clichés that’s dusted off whenever two playoff opponents from the previous year meet in the regular season. The Green Bay Packers (7-3) heading into New York (well okay, New Jersey) to take on the Giants (6-4) is such a case.
Unfortunately for Green Bay fans, revenge as a motivation for winning has been a bit overrated. But that’s not to say the Packers will not be able to leave MetLife Stadium with a win, it is just likely that if they do, it will be for other reasons.