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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Walker-Sports Top 25 Poll:Nick Saban Did It

Another great week of college football and we have a new team topping the polls once again. Not only that we saw one of the greatest football games ever. Let’s take a look around and see where everyone ended up, once the rankings shook out.

1) Alabama: A good win on Saturday, nothing too impressive, but they got the job done, and that’s what matters. More importantly Bama managed to out wait the Longhorns and were able to capitalize on their miscue.
2) Texas Tech: What a game on Saturday night. One of the best games I have ever seen. The Red Raiders proved me wrong, and took a much needed step to legitimize their program. They may not be the number one team in the nation, but they played like they were for three hours on Saturday.

3) Penn State: This is when being idol hurts you. Not to mention playing in the Big 10 hurts as well. Penn State was at home on Saturday and got leap forged. This may be the case for Joe Pa’s bunch all season since they do not have a signature win to hang their hat on.

4) Florida Gators: Complete domination. I warned everyone about Tim Teabow having a big game, and in my opinion he threw his name right back into the Heisman talk. Great game plan by Urban Myers and the Bulldogs never had a chance.
5) Oklahoma Sooners: Just hang out wait, and take care of business. The Sooners have a date with the Red Raiders coming up later in the season, and that means they have a chance to throw their hat back into the title hunt. Just keep plugging away.

6) USC: The beast of the Pac-10 is still scary out west, but not so much anywhere else in the country. For all intents and purposes the Trojans are out of the national picture, there are just too many good teams in better conferences but a rematch against OSU in the Rose Bowl doesn’t look that bad.

7) Utah: Just lurking around and waiting to crash the BCS. Saturday’s game against TCU will be huge. With BYU out the picture this becomes the day of the year.

8) Texas Longhorns: It’s a shame someone had to lose that game on Saturday night. Unfortunately Texas had to lose the game and they lost their number 1 ranking. There’s still a lot of football left and the Texas Longhorns can work their way back into the title hunt with the competition in the Big 12.

9) Boise State: I just love this WAC team. They should be in the Pac 10, but that is another story. They may not be able to pull the upset they did a couple years ago, but this is a good team that will once again make the BCS exciting.
10) Oklahoma State: I have a bad feeling things won’t go well for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. They had a great season. But Texas Tech and Oklahoma will be hungry and have a lot to prove. There’s a good chance OSU blows those games and ends up missing out on everything. A trip to a solid bowl game will be nice though.

11) Ball State: Only here because they are undefeated and that means a lot to all of us here at Walker-Sports. Ball State will not make the BCS nor should they, but this is a pretty cool story to watch unfold.

12) Missouri Tigers: The Tigers don’t have to do a whole lot. Just win the Big 12 North (witch should not be too hard). Then they have a shot at Texas, Texas Tech or OU in the Big 12 Championship game. Then all they need is one win and they are BCS bound.

13) Ohio State: The Big 10 is not what they used to be. The best thing the Buckeyes can do is hope that Penn State makes the BCS Championship and then they can sneak into the Rose Bowl. Oh wait that would mean a date with USC, not sure they want that either.

14) Florida State: Some how this team has climbed its way back into the ACC race and suddenly they don’t look that bad all around. They are not a good team, but there is a good chance they will make yet another appearance in a BCS game.

15) TCU: TCU has done everything right this season. This weekend they have a chance to put their mark on the national scene by taking down Utah. This could prove to be their game of the year.

16) Georgia Bulldogs: Two blowouts against the top teams in the SEC. Georgia is lucky they landed in the top 20. The Georgia Bulldogs are not who we thought they were. Chances are this team will stay close to home in the Peach Bowl.

17) BYU: They are still a top 25 team but much like Ball State it’s because of their record and nothing else. Don’t expect this team to do much of anything. 18) Michigan State: Solid running game, good team in a bad conference. The Capital One Bowl will be a good place for this team to land.
19) LSU: Much like Georgia, LSU has proven to be a fraud. Inexperience at the quarterback position and an overrated defense helped this team to get such a high ranking.

20) North Carolina Tar Heels: The Tar Heels are like the majority of the ACC they are an average team that is good enough to be in most any game, but not good enough to make any serious waves in the water. Right now the Tar Heels have a chance to play in the ACC Championship game; it will be interesting to see how they finish up.

21) West Virginia: West Virginia is not a very good team. Lucky for them they play in the Big East, and they are still right in the thick of things. Don’t be surprised if WVU makes an appearance in a BCS game.

22) Cal: Ranked in the top 25 two weeks in a row, congratulations. Oh yeah, good win over Oregon on Saturday.

23) Georgia Tech: Another ACC team that has the same M.O. as pretty much everyone else in the conference adds another team to the log jam that is the ACC.

24) Minnesota: Well guess it was only a matter of time before this team returned to reality. Good for them for taking advantage of a weak schedule and turning things around. Even though the Gophers won’t rock any boats this year they will go to a bowl game and that’s a lot better than their 1-11 mark last season.

25) Tulsa: They had a great run going for them and it came to an end this past week. Nonetheless this is still a fun team to watch. Check them out and see exactly how the spread offense was meant to run.

Detroit Pistons off to a Great Start

Yesterday, the Detroit Pistons made a blockbuster trade. Sending All-star guard Chauncey Billups to Denver for All-star guard Allen "AI" Iverson. Is that a "blockbuster" trade or what!?! Note that Denver also got Antonio McDyess from Detroit, though he says he wants to return to Detroit if Denver doesn't buyout his contract.

That wasn't the only good news in Detroit yesterday. The Pistons won their third game of the season (and are now 3-0).

Detroit KOed the 1-2 Charlotte Bobcats 101-83. All twelve of Detroit's active players scored at least two points as four of the Pistons five starters scored double-digit points en route to the 18-point victory in Charlotte, NC.

In each of Detroit's three games, the high-powered offense has scored 100+ points, and have just dominated the opposing defenses.

In addition to the fast start and recent blockbuster trade, the Pistons have locked up their three-time all-star shooting guard, Richard Hamilton, for three more years yesterday. According to Yahoo!.com, the Pistons are also thinking about a trade for Lebron James.

Should they land James, the Pistons would be almost an automatic pick for the 2008-09 NBA Finals.

My Night at Fedex Field: Leftwich Steps in with MVP Performance

I am soooo sorry that I haven't posted a story in, lets see, a long time. I, to tell you the truth, kinda forgot about BNB for a while. But, I'm back, and every article I post on AGM will go on here as well. Enjoy!

Steelers 23, Redskins 6

Another Monday night, another Pittsburgh win.

Luckily for me, my night at Fedex Field in Landover, MD was a very good one. Of course it started out a little bumpy, falling behind early, 6-0 after head coach Mike Tomlin's surprise onside kick attempt on the opening kickoff failed. So, Jason Campbell and his Skins started out with great field position, but only managed a field goal. After Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense was held to a three and out on their first possession, the Skins got the ball back. Quickly, they pulled ahead with another Shaun Suisham field goal, this one from 43 yards out.

Well, I surely wasn't used to this. Pittsburgh is usually able to get a quick lead and then pound the ball in the second half. Although that wasn't the case this Monday night. Roethlisberger attempted 17 first-half passes, only completing five of them. But kicker Jeff Reed hit a 35-yard field goal halfway through the second quarter, making it a 6-3 game.

I have failed to mention that Willie Parker finally returned to the lineup, but was ineffective early on. The best part of the whole game had to be the thousands and thousands of Steelers fans in DC waving their terrible towels proudly. The Steelers fans sitting right in front of me, wearing a Jerom Bettis jersey, predicted six Pittsburgh sacks. We witnessed FOUR in the first half as the Black and Gold. The Andre Frazier blocked punt with just over two minutes to go in the half set up a 1-yard run by Roethlisberger. The touchdown gave the Steelers the 10-6 lead. I must say, us Steelers fans were going crazy by then. In other words, it was LOUD. Unfortunately, the fans around me (including me), were unaware of the injury to Big Ben because we couldn't even hear the guy over the loudspeaker, but Roethlisberger ran into the locker room before the rest of the team thanks to an aggravation of his previously hurt shoulder.

We didn't realize he was out of the game until Byron Leftwich, the former Jacksonville Jaguars QB, ran out onto the field. It looked like they were keeping Dennis Dixon warm for most of the second half, too. When I saw him run out onto the field, of course I became a little worried. But that feeling didn't last for very long. Leftwich drove the Steelers down the field on their first second-half possession. The 8-play, 72 yard scoring drive was capped off with a 1-yard TD run by Willie Parker. Leftwich really got the "home" crowd going after his 50-yard pass completion to wide receiver Nate Washington. Leftwich finished the drive 2 for 3 for 57 yards, Reed missed the extra point, but it didn't really end up making a difference. 16-6 PIT.

It was all downhill for the Skins at this point. Campbell was sacked by Pittsburgh's blitz-happy defense three more times in the second half, and ended up throwing his first two interceptions of the season against them. Washington's next two drives were worthless, only gaining one first down between the two, and their last drive of the third quarter ended with a Deshea Townsend interception, which was challenged but the play stood as called on the field. Interception! First one of the season for Campbell.

On the Steelers ensuing drive Leftwich was sacked for -8 yards on the first play, and faced a 3rd and 15 after a three yard run for Parker. What does Leftwich do? Well, all he does is throw a 16-yard strike to Santonio Holmes (who, btw, just returned to the lineup after a one-game suspension) for a first down. Leftwich went 5 for 6 for 72 yards and a touchdown on yet another Steelers scoring drive, which was capped with his second Touchdown pass as a Pittsburgh Steeler. The 6-5, 250 pound Leftwich, 28, finished the game 7 for 10 for 129 yards and a TD.

His surprising performance totally eclipsed Big Ben's embarrassing first-half performance in which he accumulated a 15.1 QB Rating and a interception. Ben's status for Sunday's home game against the 4-4 Indianapolis Colts is uncertain, but I have a feeling we could be seeing a lot of Leftwich, which may not be a bad thing. Byron looked very calm in the pocket despite the Redskins defenders collapsing the pocket around him. The Skins defense, in fact, is number 4 in the League right now.

But, the story of the night was surely the number one rated defense, that is the Pittsburgh Steelers! This defense sacked Campbell for a total of 7 times and picked off two of his passes, like I said before. I don't think Campbell will be able to vote today, I don't think he will even be able to move a bone in his body after last night.


Pittsburgh is now 4-0 on Monday night under the young Mike Tomlin.
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