It seems that a lot of people thought that this year’s MLB Playoffs would be boring, since teams like the Texas Rangers’ payroll is almost a 1/4th the size of the New York Yankees (highest in the league), they don’t have a chance and the same old, same old teams will be present in the World Series, they reasoned. If anything, we’re seeing that money doesn’t always equate into winning series’. The Yankees are down 3-2 in the ALCS, after winning last night against the Texas Rangers, and the Philadelphia Phillies are also facing elimination, trailing 3-1 to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.

I’ll admit, the bigger a team’s budget gets, the easier it is for the team to sign high-profile players. But at the same time, talent doesn’t directly correspond with success. The Rangers have shown that it is possible to make a franchise competitive no matter how little you have to work with (Texas’s 2010 payroll ranks 26th, New York’s ranks 1st).

Right now, I see the Rangers advancing into the World Series. If the Yankees win Game 6, Cliff Lee will start Game 7 for Texas, and Lee has a 7-0 postseason record. Still, the Yankees are always capable of putting runs on the board, so if their starters pitch well, New York will have a good chance at winning the series.

The Phillies aren’t in good shape at all. Down 3-1, they’ll have Roy Halladay on the mound for Game 5 facing the Giant’s ace, Tim Lincecum. I can see Halladay getting a win, but I don’t think the Phillies can pull off three in a row against a determined San Francisco team.

Posted by Tom

For some reason, college football holds a special place in many a sports fan’s heart. If you’re a true fan, win or lose, you’ll keep up with your favorite program for years to come. From last Saturday until early January, every week will have at least a few prime-time matchups that nobody will want to miss. Enjoy them!

#1 – Alabama Crimson Tide – Coach Nick Saban has had a successful 3 years with Alabama, leading both his 2008 & 2009 teams to perfect regular seasons. While it will be tough for the Crimson Tide to run the table again this season, you can expect to find them at the top of the SEC as they have no foreseen threat (such as Florida has been in the past few seasons) to a conference title. Once healthy, expect to see last year’s Heisman winner, Mark Ingram, repeat last season’s numbers and make opposing defenses look downright silly while Bama’s D keeps the ball in his hands.

#2 – Ohio State Buckeyes – The Buckeyes could easily slide into the #1 spot at some point during the first half of the season due to their strong defense and Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is starting to look like the all-around college quarterback that everyone knew he would eventually evolve into; have no doubt that you’ll hear his name during the highlight section of almost any sports show on any given week. On the other side of the ball, Cameron Heyward will look to build on last year’s total of 6.5 sacks while becoming the vocal leader of one of the nation’s best defenses. Expect consecutive Big Ten title #6 for Ohio State – a number that would tie the all-time Big Ten record.

#3 – Boise State Broncos – Everyone could (and will) debate for an entire season whether or not Boise State should get a shot at playing for a BCS Championship in the National Championship game. I think that Boise State has the best chance to get in this year than any “smaller conference” team ever has, but Alabama and OSU will have too good of resumes to leave out. I’d love to see the Broncos get a chance though..

#4 – Texas Longhorns – Mack Brown hasn’t had a team win less than 9 games in 14 years. He has been the main reason behind the Longhorns’ recent, consistent success, leading Texas to 9 straight 10+ win seasons. Expect the running backs to see more carries now that the NCAAs all-time winningest quarterback, Colt McCoy, isn’t behind-center. Keep an eye on McCoy’s replacement, sophomore Garret Gilbert, as he will be the key to the Longhorns’ success.

#5 – TCU Horned Frogs – TCU has such an easy schedule, it’s hard to put them in the top 5. Yes, I know, Boise State doesn’t play many “tough” teams either, but at least they played one top 10 team. I honestly didn’t watch enough of the Horned Frogs victory last week to drop them from Clay and Clay’s top 5, but I expect TCU to slowly drop down the list, even if they continue to win.

#6 – Oregon Ducks – Wow. 72-0! I’m not one to move a team up several spots because of one spectacular win, no matter how impressive, but they won big without LaMichael James, a sophomore who ran for 14 touchdowns and over 1500 yards last season. We should know a lot more about Oregon following their Week 2 matchup – at Tennessee.

#7 – Nebraska Cornhuskers – Redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez, a dual threat quarterback, is expected to lead the Cornhuskers to a successful season in Lincoln.

#8 – Florida Gators – Besides losing Heisman-winner Tim Tebow and playing in the always tough SEC, well, it’s gonna be a tough year after what the Gators have gotten used to.

#9 – Iowa Hawkeyes – While all 3 of Iowa’s games against ranked opponents are at home, the Hawkeyes have a tough conference schedule that should help them in the postseason bowl selection process. It should be interesting to see how the Big 10 plays out..

#10 – Oklahoma Sooners – The Sooners won’t miss Sam Bradford as much as you might think – he only played in a little over 2 games last season. Make sure to watch the Sooners play Texas on October 2nd – a game that could make or break Oklahoma’s season.

#11 – Wisconsin Badgers – Playing in the Big 10 is never easy..

#12 – Virginia Tech Hokies – Some will write VT off after last week’s loss to Boise State – I’m not one of them.

#13 – Miami Hurricanes – The Hurricanes get a early test at Ohio State this Saturday.

#14 – Arkansas Razorbacks – Impressive first win…could surprise some SEC teams.

# 15 – Penn State Nittany Lions – Coach Paterno is in his astounding 45th year at Penn State.

Posted by Tom

(My top 15 might resemble the AP Top 25, but I assure you, I did not consult the poll in order to form mine.)

Matt Leinart was a superstar in college, playing for those dominant Southern California teams in the early 2000′s.  He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the top 10, projected to become their franchise quarterback.

But since then, Leinart has had just about anything besides success.  He has been seen

Matt Leinart is one of the biggest draft busts in recent NFL history.

one of the biggest busts in draft history, as he was so highly touted coming out of USC.

The Arizona Cardinals lost their starting quarterback, Kurt Warner to retirement this past season.  Warner is a definite hall of famer in my book  With Warner out of the picture, the only option the Cardinals really have is to start Matt Leinart.

Already though, he has been pulled from starting the remainder of the preseason games for Arizona.  Derek Anderson will start the games left.

Leinart’s future as the starting Cardinals quarterback is foggy at best.  The question that comes to mind is, when will he ever get it together and become what he was supposed to be?

I think Matt Leinart’s chance to grow and develop has come and gone.  He has been one of the biggest draft busts in recent history in my opinion.  I don’t think he will ever get it together.

The Arizona Cardinals need to look to the future, and that future should not be centered around a quarterback like Matt Leinart.

Posted by Ben

Check Out Our Discussion Board!

Posted: August 27, 2010 in Ben
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Posted by Ben

I have finally arrived at the last division to preview – the AFC West.  The West is a mixed bag this year, with some familiar faces gone and some new faces coming in.  Here are my predictions for the AFC West.

Ryan Mathews

The San Diego Chargers are the obvious first place choice here.  They lost (or got rid of) Ladainian Tomlinson, but drafted a great running back in Ryan Matthews to replace him. Philip Rivers is a top 10 quarterback in my opinion, and their defense looks good too. The Chargers will win the AFC West and could make a run to the AFC Title Game.

Second place is a tough pick.  I’ll go with the Denver Broncos.  They lost a lot of talent when Brandon Marshall was shipped of to Miami, but they have a decent quarterback in Kyle Orton and some decent weapons to throw to.  The word that sums up the Broncos this year: mediocre. They probably won’t challenge for a playoff spot.  But who knows?

Third place goes to a team that may slowly be getting it together.  The Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Cassel

have played terrible football the last couple seasons, but this year they will make a big step towards rebuilding.   Matt Cassel may turn into their franchise quarterback, and Thomas Jones is a good running back. Dwayne Bowe is a dependable wide receiver.  Next season they will be much better, but this year this team will get the experience together they need.

Finally, the Oakland Raiders are last place, as everyone has come to expect.   Jason Campbell is just a temporary fix at quarterback.  Oakland needs to start drafting better to really get their organization together.  It’s hard to find something to talk about with the Raiders, other than how dismal they are.  Once again, they will finish in last place.

Posted by Ben

With the AFC South, you’ve got a pretty strong division from top to bottom.  You have an elite team, an up-and-coming team, a team that always comes to play, and a team that has its special years.  Here are my predictions for the AFC South.

The Indianapolis Colts are the obvious pick to win the AFC South.  Their offense is championship-caliber.  Their defense is close to championship caliber.  An offense that boasts Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark is one that is tough to challenge.  Add in a defense that gets the job done and you have a Super Bowl contender.  The Colts will win the AFC South and will make a deep playoff run.

Andre Johnson

I am a big fan of the Houston Texans, as their fledgling franchise has seemed to stabilize.  This will be the year Houston will finally have some real playoff potential.  Andre Johnson may be the best receiver in the NFL, and Matt Schaub is a dependable quarterback who is really developing, slowly but surely.  The Texans will finish second in the South and may get a shot at a Wild Card playoff spot, if they get their regular season record to around the 10-6 mark.

The Tennessee Titans have been an interesting team to follow over the last few years.

Vince Young

They flirted with a perfect regular season record just a few years ago, and last year they didn’t even make the playoffs.  They have stabilized a little bit this season, and this season will build towards the future. Vince Young looks to be a decent quarterback, and their defense is a force in the AFC.  However, I don’t see this team getting an over-.500 record for the season.  I see their best record being 8-8.

Finally, we have the Jacksonville Jaguars, a tumultuous franchise that has seen both good years and bad recently.  I don’t know too much about this team, but with the teams ahead of them there is no way they’ll get out of last place in the AFC South.  The Jaguars will probably end up with 5 or 6 wins.

Posted by Ben

The AFC East is a mixed-bag division.   It’s tough to pick winners, and tough to pick loser.  It is a really balanced division.  But, in my opinion, it has no real Super Bowl contenders.  Here are my predictions for the AFC North.

I like the New York Jets to win this division.  I personally am not a huge fan of Rex

Rex Ryan

Ryan, but he has turned a mediocre team into Super Bowl contenders.  An offense boasting Mark Sanchez, Ladainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene, and others, can’t be overlooked.  Cornerback Darelle Revis has made headlines in a bad way, but he may be the best at his position in the league.  The Jets should win the AFC East.

The New England Patriots look to be a good choice for second place.  Questions remain about their defense, but their offense looks great.  With an MVP quarterback in Tom Brady at the helm, you can’t go wrong.  Wes Welker is still a dependable target to get first downs, and Randy Moss is, well, Randy Moss.  Look for the Patriots to put up a lot of points, but allow a lot of points as well.  New England may even challenge to win the AFC East.

Brandon Marshall

Third place goes to the Miami Dolphins.  Miami has made amazing strides over the last few years from dismal to division winners (thanks in part to Bill Parcells).  The Dolphins made a big splash in free agency, getting Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Chad Henne is pretty good quarterback. Not great, but good enough.  The Miami Dolphins would probably end up second if they were in an easier division, but third place is where they will land in the AFC East.

Finally, last place goes to, (drumroll!) the Buffalo Bills.  This team just can’t ever get it completely together.  It’s hard to find a real bright spot on this team. CJ Spiller may be decent in his first season., but don’t count on him to win this team a lot of games.  Buffalo will end up in last place by a pretty large margin, considering the division they’re in.

Posted by Ben