Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 NFL Draft profile

The 2018 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 NFL Draft profile.

Summary

The Pittsburgh Steelers were on a roll in 2017. They finished their regular season 13-3 and snagged the AFC North Division title yet again, along with a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 NFL Draft profile

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Photo from espn.com)

Overall, the Steelers were a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball. Pittsburgh finished in the top five in both total offense and defense. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also broke out in his rookie season on the gridiron.

He finished his debut season with 917 receiving yards and seven touchdown, along with a kickoff returned for a touchdown. His talents came in handy when star weapon, Antonio Brown, went down for the season with a partially torn calf late in the season.

In addition to his skill set, Smith-Schuster’s touchdown celebrations reflected his love for playing, especially his brief hide and seek game with running back Le’Veon Bell.

However, the black and yellow’s season did not go without its own pains and hardships. In Week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals, linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal contusion that scared the entire league. Shazier underwent stabilization surgery, ending his season. But he has been making remarkable progress through rehab since and was selected to his second Pro Bowl. He also stated that he wants to get back into the helmet and shoulder pads once again.

Furthermore, the Steelers suffered a heart-wrenching defeat against the New England Patriots in Week 15. Controversially, a touchdown pass was called back late in the game. The ruling of a no-catch was among many similar incidences in seasons past. New England eventually beat Pittsburgh 27-24.

In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars cut the Steelers’ playoff run short, beating them 45-42.

Picks and Needs

The Pittsburgh Steelers have seven picks to work with the 2018 NFL Draft. The Steel City will have to address positions in need of youth, as well as depth. General manager Kevin Colbert will once again have to bring in the best available to help prolong the Steelers’ winning ways.

First round (1 pick): 28

Second round (1): 60

Third round (1): 92

Fourth round (0):

Fifth round (2): 148, 165

Sixth round (0):

Seventh round: (2): 220, 246

Offensive needs:

Quarterback – Ben Roethlisberger’s days behind center are not infinite. At 36 years old, the six-time Pro Bowl signal caller will need a successor soon. Though Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs have potential to step in, another name added in the unit can keep the position competitive. It can also prove to be helpful if Big Ben gets injured.

Defensive needs:

Middle linebacker – Shazier was the spark plug on Pittsburgh’s front seven. He was always one of the first people in pursuit of the ball carrier and made plays in coverage. With Shazier out for now, the Steelers will need the next man who could fly around to the ball and make stops when needed.

Outside linebacker – Long time Steelers linebacker, James Harrison, was trouble for off-tackle run plays and a tenacious edge rusher. Harrison, Pittsburgh’s all-time sacks leader, has recently announced his retirement at 39 years old. The Steelers will need a new, young linebacker that can create pressure off the edge and shut down one side while T.J. Watt handles the other.

Free safety – Pittsburgh will need a free safety that can negate the long plays down the field. In addition, this safety needs to have a nose for the football and can deceive the opposing quarterback into making bad throws.

Targets

These are the names the Pittsburgh Steelers can reasonably pick up the upcoming draft.

First round: 

Pick No. 28: Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State

Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 NFL Draft profile

Vander Esch, No. 38, Boise State. (Photo from Idaho Press Tribune)

Leighton Vander Esch may have only one full season as a starter at Boise State, but he was a tackling machine with All-Conference honors in the Mountain West. He can change directions with little to no delay and plays sideline to sideline. Plus, at 6-foot-4, 256 pounds, his frame can play to his advantage when making tackles.

Vander Esch has potential to become an instant starter from Week 1.

Second round:

Pick No. 60: Shaquem Griffin, OLB, Central Florida

Shaquem Griffin never let the fact that he has just one hand stop him. During his last two seasons with the UCF Knights, head coach Scott Frost moved Griffin from defensive back to outside linebacker. It is safe to say that the rest is history. Along with All-AAC (American Athletic Conference) honors, Griffin was a focal point in the Knights’ undefeated season in 2017.

On top of that, Griffin took the league by storm at the NFL Combine. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and recorded 20 reps on the bench press, using a prosthetic.

Griffin also possesses high game IQ and looks to punish on every hit. With his speed and athleticism, Griffin can become a nightmare off the edge. Plus, he can be a great asset on special teams.

Third round:

Pick No. 92: DeShon Elliott, S, Texas

Elliott brings intelligence to the safety position. In 2017, he was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. The All-American Texas Longhorn embraces the physicality needed to play, and can be a weapon in stopping the run. Furthermore, his frame and arm length will give him an advantage in coverage and in his downhill approach.

Conclusion

The upcoming draft will yield opportunities for Pittsburgh to replenish the ranks and bring youth to the roster. With the combination of Kevin Colbert’s eye for talent and head coach Mike Tomlin’s guidance, the new faces can lead the black and gold back into the playoff picture.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the Jacksonville Jaguars 2018 NFL Draft profile.

 

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2018 NBA top draft picks

Predicting the top 5 NBA lottery teams and draft picks

The tanks are still chugging along despite the league’s best efforts. But who will get the first pick in the NBA draft?

With the draft’s lottery system, it is literally, not figuratively, impossible to predict with certainty who will walk away with the No. 1 pick. What we can do, however, is predict how the NBA’s cellar dwellers will use their first-round choices.

It’s been a very interesting year in college basketball, especially for projected top-five picks. Michael Porter Jr. is finally back on the court after being sidelined since Nov. 10. Trae Young’s stock continues to fall. Deandre Ayton is still embroiled in a pay-for-play controversy.

Will that stop NBA teams from taking chances on them? Does potential outweigh other glaring issues? Or is it simply about making the easy choice, not letting them fall to competitors?

The most important month of college hoops is here, so we’ll have a clearer picture of where the top talents land very soon. But let’s take a look at potential landing spots as they stand today.

Here, we’re focusing on the top five picks and landing spots as they pertain specifically to NBA teams. For a complete first-round mock draft, see this article by our own Joe DiTullio.

1. Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley III (PF, Duke)

Memphis has lost 17 games in a row. They sat out Marc Gasol during Saturday’s game against the Magic. They want the No. 1 pick, and they’ll probably get it.

2018 NBA top draft picks

Marvin Bagley III is projected to go as high as No. 1 in the NBA draft. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

The Grizzlies badly need some great wing players. They also need big men to protect the rim, considering Gasol might potentially be on his way out.

The latter is just a guess, but considering Memphis’ tank is in fifth gear, it wouldn’t be shocking if they decided to move on from Gasol. He’s a premiere scoring big man whose talents are being wasted on a team this bad. He could also be the missing piece for a fringe team, returning some great picks in a potential trade.

Being that they need a big and a wing, why not split the difference and go with a power forward with tremendous upside?

Bagley is averaging 21.1 points and 11.5 rebounds for the Blue Devils. Those kind of numbers are perfect for replacing Gasol, if they need to. If Gasol stays with the team and Bagley pans out, that would make for a terrifying frontcourt combination.

Guard play is not an issue for Memphis, and small forwards litter the NBA right now. Bagley is the right choice if the Grizzlies can secure a pick high enough to draft him.

2. Atlanta Hawks – Luka Dončić (PG/SG, Slovenia)

Most mock drafts have the Hawks landing the third through the fifth pick. Considering their schedule, however, they might surprise the league and land much higher. Regardless of their position, the pick should remain the same.

The Hawks’ backcourt is a mess. They somehow have too many guards and not enough at the same time.

That’s where Real Madrid’s Slovenian stud comes into play.

Dončić is a 6-foot-8 guard who can play the point or the shooting guard. He is averaging 17.0 points and 4.5 assists per game. At just 19 years old, he has plenty of room to grow into his game in the fast-paced, guard-heavy NBA.

The real draw here is the fact that he’s a combo guard. Getting two players for one pick is an underutilized strategy in the NBA draft. The height is also eye-opening. Ask Philadelphia how drafting 6-foot-10 point guard Ben Simmons is working out for them.

Spending top-five draft picks on international players isn’t the sexiest strategy, but it can pay dividends. Kristaps Porzingis is already a star. The jury is still out on Thon Maker and Dragan Bender, but they need more time to develop.

International players can often stretch the floor in a way American players cannot in their first years in the league. With the way the league uses the 3-point shot today, that’s only good news for the team who gets Dončić.

3. Phoenix Suns – Deandre Ayton (C, Arizona)

Watching Phoenix play, it’s hard to argue that they don’t want to win. The team plays hard, but the talent just isn’t there. They had a lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 2, and fell only due to Russell Westbrook’s 43-point performance. Their remaining schedule is only mildly difficult, but expect them to finish second or third in the lottery standings anyway.

2018 NBA top draft picks

Ayton dunks during a game against Arizona State. (Photo by Timothy J. Gonzelez/Associated Press)

Cases could be made that Ayton should go No. 1. It would make sense considering his numbers. Plus, in a league so in love with the jumper, a true center can still be a game changer.

Averaging 19.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, the offensive production is more than solid. What should get the Suns excited, though, is his rim protection. At just under two blocks per game, the defense should translate well to the NBA game. Erasing low post shots is not something players unlearn.

Two-way potential is not undervalued, but there still is not too much of it in today’s game. On top of that, Phoenix seems intent on staying young. This is a no-brainer, to the point where if the Suns run into some bad luck in the lottery, it’s feasible that they would have another team draft Ayton for them. Ayton is worth trading for on NBA draft night.

4. Sacramento Kings – Michael Porter, Jr. (SF, Missouri)

The Kings play 10 of their remaining 16 games against potential playoff teams. The Nets also play 10 of their 16 games against these kinds of teams. Expect Sacramento to make less of an effort to pull off some upsets, considering Brooklyn traded their first-round pick away.

The Kings need help at every position on the floor. The talent is just not there for Sacramento. With this in mind, they should go for a small forward, which is arguably the most important position in the NBA right now.

Michael Porter, Jr. has played in only one game since Nov. 10 as mentioned above. In it, he scored 12 points on 5-for-17 shooting. That’s clearly not enough to help him sneak into the top three NBA draft picks just yet.

Porter is a massive question mark going into the tournament. The back injury he suffered in the season opener against Iowa State and subsequent surgery have clearly slowed his step. Don’t expect this to stop Vlade Divac, objectively one of the worst general managers in the NBA, from going after him, though.

His upside is huge, but his draft stock will ultimately depend on what he ends up doing in the NCAA tournament.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers, via Brooklyn Nets – Mohamed Bamba (PF, Texas)

We just established that Brooklyn does not get to keep their pick in the 2018 NBA draft due to playoff-or-bust trades made by the Brooklyn brass in previous years.

This means that the Nets will do everything they can to devalue the pick. They also have more talent than some of the other teams on this list, which should help, but not enough to move it out of the top five.

2018 NBA top draft picks

Mo Bamba executes one of many blocks during his short Texas career. (Photo by Troy Wayrynen/USA Today Sports)

Cleveland’s future is entirely dependent on whether or not LeBron James decides to stay in Cleveland. Airing on the side of caution, however, it’s a smart bet for the Cavaliers to spend their pick on James’ position.

A 7-footer that doesn’t have to live underneath the basket would be a huge pickup for Cleveland. Bamba’s 12.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game would go a long way in replacing James. Much like the Grizzlies’ Gasol situation, it would also be a fantastic addition if The King decides to stay.

Also, 3.7 blocks per game is huge, even if the offensive talent in the NCAA is much weaker than the NBA. Don’t expect him to keep that number as high as it is during his only year of college, but expect the intimidation factor to be higher than some other rookies’.

 

Featured image by Billy Hurst/USA Today Sports

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology: Selection Sunday

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. It is now Selection Sunday! The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometimes multiple times a day, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology: Selection Sunday. Click to zoom.

 

Last four byes: Virginia Tech, St. Bonaventure, USC, UCLA

Last four in: St. Mary’s, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State

First four out: Notre Dame, Louisville, Arizona State, Baylor

Next four out: Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee, Syracuse, Marquette

 

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2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 9

It’s March and the madness has already begun with conference tournaments. There are still a lot of games to be played before Selection Sunday, but it’s always good to take stock of where the teams are standing. The Game Haus will be updating a new bracketology every day and sometime multiple times a day before Selection Sunday, so please check back! Here is the 2018 NCAA Tournament bracketology March 9. Click to zoom.

Last four byes: Florida State, USC, Texas, Oklahoma

Last four in: Alabama, UCLA, Notre Dame, Louisville

First four out: Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee State, Syracuse, Arizona State

Next four out: Baylor, Marquette, Penn State, Oregon

 

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Mo Bamba Bulls

Why the Chicago Bulls should target Mo Bamba

The Bulls are in full-on tank mode for the final 25 games after the All-Star break. They decided to bench veteran Justin Holiday, Robin Lopez and Jerian Grant down the stretch. They made this decision so David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne could play extended minutes. The point of this move is not just to blatantly lose games, but to also see how young players respond to playing more minutes and carrying more of the load.

Currently, the Chicago Bulls sit in 8th in the draft order for the first round if the season ended today. They also hold the New Orleans Pelicans’ first round pick that they acquired in the Nikola Mirotic trade. That pick will likely be a middle-round pick because the Pelicans are in the playoff hunt.

Here’s the number one player the Bulls should target in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Mo Bamba

Mo Bamba hammers home a dunk from the sky (ESPN screenshot)

Bamba is a 7’0, 225 pound center for the Texas Longhorns. He has a whopping 7’9 wingspan, which is 0.5 inches longer than Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert. He is freakishly athletic and anchors the number six defense in the country for Texas. When Bamba is on the court, Texas allows an absurdly low 82.7 points per 100 possessions. This is very good indeed.

He is averaging a double-double on the year with 13.4 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.9 blocks-per-game. He is shooting 60.8 percent from the field and has shown some semblance of a 3-point shot, shooting 28 percent on the year. He also has multiple highlights like the one below.

In Chicago, he could slide right in next to rookie power forward Lauri Markkanan. Markkanen has a fabulous offensive game and a beautiful jumper for a 7-footer, averaging 15.1 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc. His offensive ability would fit nicely with Bamba’s defensive prowess. Bamba would have the ability to focus on what he does best, which is defense and rebounding, while continuing to improve his offensive game but not having the pressure of being the number 1 or 2 option.

Hopefully the Lauri-Mo frontcourt will be tearing up the United Center next season.

Featured Image: SBnation

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NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Texas Bowl

The 2017 Texas Bowl is not the biggest bowl game, but a lot of players are skipping it to prepare for the NFL Draft. Texas will be without a lot of its talented players because of this reason. These players are out for the Longhorns: Connor Williams (NFL Draft), Malik Jefferson (possibly), DeShon Elliot (NFL Draft) and Holton Hill (suspended). There are still some good players in this game. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Texas Bowl:

Texas Longhorns:

Poona Ford, DT

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Texas Bowl

Poona Ford (Photo by insidetexas.com)

Ford is a good defensive tackle prospect who has been playing regularly for Texas for three years. He has 132 total tackles and 20.5 tackles for loss in his career. This year is his senior season and he hasn’t disappointed with eight tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He is the best prospect that is likely to play in the 2017 Texas Bowl.

At 6’0″ and 305 pounds, Ford looks like a good, run-stuffing defensive tackle that will fit in perfectly in a 4-3 defense. He will be drafted in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 4th round-6th round

Missouri Tigers:

Marcell Frazier, DE

Frazier has had a big season with 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. This season he has also shown the ability to gets his hands up and deflect passes with five on the season. In his three seasons at Missouri, Frazier has 17.5 sacks. His pass rushing will help him get picked on day two or early on day three.

He looks like a NFL defensive end at 6’5″ and 265 pounds. His production wasn’t as good as a lot of people would have thought, but he still had a decent final season for Missouri.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Drew Lock, QB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Texas Bowl

Drew Lock (Photo by thebiglead.com)

Lock has really seen his stock rise this season for Missouri. The junior has thrown for 3,695 yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He can sling it around the whole field, but has had some accuracy issues with only 58.2% of his passes completed.

One thing Lock has going for him is that he looks the part. He is 6’4″ and 225 pounds. Lock has never had a season of 60% completion, which will concern some teams.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

J’Mon Moore, WR

Moore has been Lock’s favorite target for the last two seasons. This season Moore has 1,017 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. He has two straight 1,000 yard, 60+ catch seasons and has shown great consistency for the Tigers. Production will not be a question mark for Moore.

He has great size at 6’3″ and 205 pounds, but will need to add some play strength. Running a good 40 time will be a key to help raise his stock. With good production and measurables, a team will take a chance on Moore in this draft.

Projected draft range: 4th round-6th round

 

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2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Preview

A former Big 12 matchup will happen in the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, when Texas takes on Missouri. They may not be conference foes anymore, but having bragging rights until the next time the teams meet would be nice. Here is the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl preview:

Texas Longhorns (6-6)

2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl preview

Poona Ford (Photo by armchairall-american.com)

Texas had a .500 year for Tom Herman’s first campaign. Their three big wins over Kansas State, Iowa State and West Virginia are what put them over the edge for bowl eligibility. The Longhorns will be without a few players for this bowl game because they are preparing for the NFL Draft. Tackle Connor Williams and safety DeShon Elliot are both skipping the bowl game, while linebacker Malik Jefferson’s status is still up in the air.

Offense is Herman’s forte, but he doesn’t have his type of players at Texas yet. The Longhorns score 28.7 points per game and at times have trouble moving the football. Running the ball has been particularly tough for Texas. Their leading rusher is quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who didn’t even play all of the time due to injuries and battling with Shane Buechele for playing time. Running backs Daniel Young and Chris Warren both had over 300 yards rushing this season, but got fewer than 100 carries.

Ehlinger and Buechele both got playing time this season, but Ehlinger should be seen as the starter. He has thrown for 1,803 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Collin Johnson is the leading receiver leads the team 725 yards receiving. He is 6’6″ and creates mismatches for Texas to take advantage of.

The Longhorn defense has been solid allowing 21.7 points per game. They rank seventh against the run, but 107th against the pass. Without Elliot, and possibly Elliot, Texas will need defensive tackle Poona Ford to have a big day. He has 30 total tackles, eight tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks this season

Missouri Tigers (7-5)

2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl preview

Drew Lock (Photo by rockmnation.com)

The Tigers had a wild season. They beat an FCS opponent in Missouri State, then lost five straight before winning out to finish 7-5. Although it was a good season, they were not able to beat a team that became bowl eligible this season.

Missouri’s offense can score and averages 39.1 points per game. They average 200 yards on the ground per game, which ranks 35th in the country. Ish Witter is their lead back and has 992 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Larry Rountree III and Damarea Crockett have also been productive for the Tigers with Rountree having 629 yards and Crockett rushing for 481 yards.

The real star of the team is quarterback Drew Lock. Lock has 3,695 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions by virtue of slinging the ball all over the field. J’Mon Moore and Emanuel Hal are the two leading receivers for Lock. Moore has 1,017 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, while Hal has 817 yards and eight touchdowns.

Defensively, Missouri allows 31.8 points per game. They rank 62nd against the run and 109th against the pass. Defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school and has seven sacks this season.

Prediction

Texas is going to be hurt by the players that are skipping the bowl game. Lock is on a roll and that won’t be stopped by a pass defense that wasn’t good to start with, but also loses Elliot in this game. Missouri will have a big offensive output in this game.

Missouri Tigers 48 Texas Longhorns 34

 

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Five things to watch for in college football week 8

Week seven was crazy and has college football fans ready for some more exciting times. There are only eight undefeated teams left in the FBS and there is sure to be more upsets and shake ups. Here are five things to watch in college football this week:

1. the battle for the jeweled shillelagh

College football week 8

Sam Darnold (Photo by nfl.com)

Notre Dame and USC play in the best game of the weekend in South Bend. The winner will put themselves in the talk for the College Football Playoff. The Fighting Irish lead the all time series 44-36-5, but have only won six of these matchups since 2000. There is so much history to this great rivalry and this looks like another game that will be one to remember.

The Trojans come in to this game after a close win over Utah. USC only has one loss on the season, which came to Washington State. Their offense will be led by Sam Darnold, who has not lived up to the hype so far this season. If he can protect the football while making plays, much like he did last year, USC can win. They have a good passing offense and an average defense, so it all hinges on Darnold.

Brian Kelly’s crew has worked their way all the way to number 13 in the rankings and have only lost to Georgia by one point. They have one of the best rushing offenses in the country and their defense is vastly improved over last season. The running game, led by Josh Adams, will be slowed, so Brandon Wimbush needs to complete passes down the field  to stretch the defense out.

2. Saquon Barkley vs. Michigan’s defense

Barkley has been electrifying this season and now is the leader to win the Heisman. He also will likely be drafted very highly in the 2018 NFL Draft. He is a dynamic player, but needs to prove that he can produce against great defenses, something he struggled with last season. Barkley can change the games in so many ways that Penn State can use him in the return game as well.

In one of the biggest games of the weekend, Barkley and the Nittany Lions will take on Michigan. The Wolverines have been struggling as of late, as they needed overtime to beat Indiana. One thing that hasn’t changed is Michigan’s defense. It is still tough and is the eighth best scoring defense in the country. Devin Bush is a linebacker that is all over the field and is a great player in his own right. He will need to lead the charge in slowing down Barkley.

Penn State will likely win the game, but it will be interesting to see how Barkley performs against this tough defense.

3. Can Texas finally pull off an upset?

College Football week 8

Tom Herman (photo by nvue.com)

Texas has come so close to getting a big win for Tom Herman, but have come up short. First they lost a close game in overtime to USC, who was heavily favored to win. Last week they were leading Oklahoma in the fourth quarter, before Baker Mayfield was able to lead the Sooners to victory. Herman has a knack for getting his teams ready to go for big games. Is this the week they finally get the job done?

Oklahoma State is traveling to Austin to play the Longhorns. They have a high powered offense that is number one in passing yards per game and tied for first in points per game. Their disappointing loss to TCU looks better now that the Horned Frogs are still undefeated. The defense is vulnerable, but Texas may not be able to win a shootout against them.

The game will feature Malik Jefferson and Poona Ford on the Texas defense going against the NFL level talent, Mason Rudolph and James Washington, on Oklahoma State’s offense. How many times can Texas come close?

4. Butch Jones’ Hot seat boiling

Tennessee lost a close game with South Carolina last week 15-9. Jones, while doing his damage control, mentioned that the team did everything to win the game besides score touchdowns. He must’ve forgotten that scoring touchdowns is the main job of any offense. He has covered up a fight between teammates and is in full on survival mode.

The Volunteers are 3-3, which is worse than the high expectations that Tennessee fans had going into the season. This week Tennessee gets to visit Alabama for what should be a pretty big beating. The Crimson Tide are favored by 36 points and if they put their foot down on the gas they should be able to win by even more.

At this rate the question is not if Butch Jones gets fired, it’s when.

5. Josh Allen vs. Boise State

College football week 8

Josh Allen (Photo by usatoday.com)

Josh Allen was thought of as a high first round draft pick before the season started, but has not played well against good competition. He struggled against both Oregon and Iowa. He has athletic ability and size that has been compared to Cam Newton, but hasn’t made good decisions. It is not totally his fault as his team, Wyoming, doesn’t have the most talent to help him out.

This week Allen is going up against a solid Boise State defense. Last week the Broncos shut down Rashaad Penny of San Diego State, who was in the running for the Heisman. The challenge this week is a bit different, so it remains to be seen if Boise State can step up. This game also has a big impact on the Mountain West. Both teams are currently undefeated in the Moutain West Mountain Division.

With all of the highly thought of quarterback prospects playing poorly, Allen has an opportunity to get hot and get back on track.

 

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College Football week 8 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their college football picks for week eight including all games that include FBS teams.

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Louisiana Arkansas State Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, AR Ark St Ark St
#25 Memphis Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Memphis Memphis
Western Kentucky Old Dominion S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA WKU WKU
Marshall Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN Marshall Marshall
Air Force Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV Air Force AF
Colorado State New Mexico Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM Col St Col St
Maryland #5 Wisconsin Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI Wisconsin Wisconsin
#10 Oklahoma State Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX OK State Ok St
Tulsa Connecticut Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT Tulsa Tulsa
Akron Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
Iowa Northwestern Ryan Field, Evanston, IL Iowa NW
Purdue Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Purdue Purdue
Louisville Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL Fla St FSU
Idaho Missouri Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO Mizzou Mizzou
Iowa State Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX TTU TTU
Temple Army Michie Stadium, West Point, NY Army Army
Pittsburgh Duke Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC Duke Duke
Boston College Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA Uva UVA
Troy Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA Troy Troy
Kent State Ohio Peden Stadium, Athens, OH Ohio Ohio
Northern Illinois Bowling Green Doyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green, OH NIU NIU
Western Michigan Eastern Michigan Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI EMU WMU
Buffalo Miami (OH) Yager Stadium, Oxford, OH Buffalo Miami
Central Michigan Ball State Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, IN CMU CMU
Tennessee #1 Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL Alabama Alabama
Syracuse #8 Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL Miami Miami
North Carolina #14 Virginia Tech Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA VT VT
Indiana #18 Michigan State Spartan Stadium , East Lansing, MI Mich St MSU
#20 UCF Navy Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD UCF UCF
Coastal Carolina Appalachian State Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC App St App St
Georgia Southern UMass Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, MA Umass Umass
Arizona State Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Arizona St ASU
Illinois Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Minnesota Minnesota
#9 Oklahoma Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS Oklahoma Oklahoma
Kentucky Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss St Miss St
Oregon UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA UCLA UCLA
SMU Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH SMU SMU
Louisiana Monroe South Alabama Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL USA USA
North Texas Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL N. Texas N Texas
Utah State UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV Utah St Utah St
UAB Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC UAB UAB
#16 South Florida Tulane Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA USF USF
Southern Mississippi Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA USM USM
Rice UT San Antonio Alamodome, San Antonio, TX UTSA UTSA
BYU East Carolina Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC BYU BYU
#24 LSU Ole Miss Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS LSU LSU
#19 Michigan #2 Penn State Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA Penn St Penn St
#11 USC #13 Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN ND USC
#21 Auburn Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Auburn Auburn
Wake Forest Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA GT GT
Kansas #4 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
Margin of Victory 30 34
#23 West Virginia Baylor McLane Stadium, Waco, TX WVU WVU
Arizona California Memorial Stadium , Berkeley, CA Arizona Arizona
Wyoming Boise State Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID Boise Boise
Fresno State San Diego State SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
Colorado #15 Washington St Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA Wash St Wazzu
Gameday Guest Picker (University Park) Ty Burrell Lisa Salters

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Five things we learned from college football week 7

It was a great weekend of college football that really changed the College Football Playoff picture. It may not have looked like a great weekend going into it, but whenever that is the case, crazy things happen. Here are five things we learned from the wild weekend.

1. Never underestimate an opponent

College football week 7

Manny Wilkins (Photo by azcentral.com)

This was the first weekend this season of no matchups between ranked opponents. It looked like a lot of the teams were going to win big time, but that turned into a lot of big upsets. On Friday Clemson lost on the road to Syracuse, despite being over 20 point favorites. Washington State got absolutely decimated by Cal 37-34.

The craziness continued on Saturday. West Virginia beat a newly ranked Texas Tech team, while Memphis upset Navy. Weeks after questioning Ed Oregeron’s capabilities at LSU, he led the Tigers to an upset win over Auburn. San Diego State suffered their first loss of the season to Boise State. To cap things off, Arizona State upset the number five team in the country, Washington.

All in all, seven ranked teams lost, which included four teams that were ranked in the top 10. The chaos is just getting started.

2. Alabama is the best team in the country

While this isn’t too much of a surprise, this was a debate last week. With Clemson losing, Alabama stands alone as the best team in the country, without any team that is being touted as a great challenger.

The Crimson Tide struggled to get past Texas A&M last week, but this week was able to roll past Arkansas. The defense has been elite, while the running game has been dominant. On top of that Jalen Hurts has been protecting the football, which is all he needs to do to get Alabama wins. Hurts threw his first interception of the season against the Razorbacks, so if he can keep up his ability to not turn the ball over, the Crimson Tide will have a huge advantage in any game.

With the rest of the SEC West beating up on each other, it doesn’t look like Alabama will be tested too much in the regular season.

3. Baker Mayfield is tough and clutch

College football week 7

Baker Mayfield (Photo by newsok.com)

The Red River Rivalry was one of the best games of the weekend. Texas put up a good fight and had a fourth quarter lead behind a gutty performance from Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. Unfortunately for them it wasn’t enough as Baker Mayfield was able to lead the Sooners back to victory.

Mayfield was driven into the ground and hurt his throwing shoulder during the game. He had it worked on by the trainers and was able to play through the pain. It came to the point were Mayfield had to throw, as the Sooners were behind in the fourth quarter. He let a pass rip to Mark Andrews down the sideline, which turned into a game-winning score.

While Mayfield isn’t the leader for the Heisman right now, he certainly has had a lot of memorable moments.

4. Butch Jones is getting fired

Tennessee lost a close game at home to South Carolina. They failed to get the offense going, with offense being head coach Butch Jones’ specialty. The Volunteers were only able to manage to score nine points and they only needed 16 to win the game.

Butch Jones was already on the hot seat, but after another loss, he may be getting fired earlier than expected despite a huge buyout clause in his contract. Tennessee is now 3-3 as they head into a game with Alabama. Their back half of the schedule also has big games against LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, so it will not be easy to get to bowl eligibility.

Watch the bottom ticker on your screens the next couple of weeks as Jones could be getting the ax at any moment from here on out.

5. UAB can get to a bowl

College football week 7

Bill Clark (Photo by cbssports.com)

In probably the craziest story of the year, UAB is having a very successful season in their first year back as a college football program. They program was cancelled after the 2014 season and after a few seasons off, have made it back to the highest level of college football.

The Blazers beat Middle Tennessee this weekend, as they were able to take advantage of a banged up Blue Raiders team. Now UAB sits at 4-2 with a couple easy games left on the schedule. If they can get two more wins, they will make their second bowl game in their history.

This season has already seen a lot of wacky results, but it would be such a wild story if a newly reinstated team was able to make a bowl game.

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