Archive for July, 2009

T9C Countdown: #23 Illinois.

July 31, 2009

Gearing up for the 2009 college football season takes a lot of work. Ranking players, critiquing coaches and drinking massive quantities of beer is tough. That’s why The Nine Commandments is creating its first T9C Top 25 Countdown. To see all of the previous ranked teams, be sure to check the links at the bottom of this post. Be sure to check back daily for the latest.

juice williams

Versatility will be the key for Illinois’ offense this year as they look to recover from a disastrous 5-7 season just a year after stunning the nation with their first BCS era Rose Bowl appearance. With all players gaining rushing yards in 2008 returning this season and a receiving corps that rivals that of the prolific Big-12 offenses, the question marks will lie on the defensive side of the ball and head coach Ron Zook.

Arrelious Benn is simply explosive, highlighting a great receiving corps alongside Florida transfer Jarred Fayson and Jeff Cumberland. These guys are big targets that quarterback Juice Williams shouldn’t be able to miss if he tries. The Big 10 is a slow, overrated conference that the Illinois offense will be able to put up gaudy numbers against.

Arrelious Benn has guns the military wants.

Arrelious Benn has guns the military wants.

While Williams numbers have been nothing short of spectacular (he is just over 2,000 yards short of becoming Illinois all-time passing leader), his control has always been off since he arrived in Champaign. Williams should have a number of 300-400 yard games this season, but he can’t be such a turnover machine. If he keeps throwing interceptions like he did in 2008 (16), the results will be lowered dramatically from the expectations. On a positive note, Williams is one of the better mobile quarterbacks in the country, rushing for over 700 yards last season. He’s a player that nearly any coach would envy, but few want to face. This will be Williams best season yet because of the talent that surrounds him.

Zook is known for his great recruiting while his coaching ability has been questioned at times. This could be a potential problem with loads of raw talent but little proven ability on both sides of the ball.

The big question about this team that will prevent them from dominating the Big 10 is the defense that has lost six starters, including Vontae Davis who was drafted by Miami Dolphins. The team has tons of talent that will give Zook lots of options in creating a defense that will able to stand up to the tough running options the Big 10 is known for.

Ron Zook

Linebacker Martez Wilson will lead this defense although his 73 tackles last season wouldn’t totally back that up. The coaches moved Wilson from weak side to middle and his work this season will put him on the All Big 10 team. Ian Thomas will line up strong side while Wayne Ellington will round out the starting backers on the weak side. If any of these guys aren’t able to get the job done, there is plenty more talent and athleticism that will be able to. Tavon Wilson, Dere Hicks, Donsay Hardeman and Garrett Edwards should be able get the job done in the secondary.

The defensive line is shaky and questionable with Josh Brent recovering from a knee injury last season and a suspension stemming from a DUI arrest that lasted all of spring ball. Sirod Williams is also recovering from a torn ACL last season, but if he is able to recover fully by the opener with Missouri on September 5th, Williams 295 pounds will be a force able to shut down any rusher that comes his way in Big 10 play. While Doug Pilcher isn’t the best pass rusher on the right end, Antonio James is. With more playing time in 2009, James should be able to show his worth.

With Ohio State and Penn State is rebuilding mode, this is Illinois best chance to get back to the Rose Bowl. If they start out the season 4-0 (which I find unlikely), there will be plenty of national championship talk. I see this team going 9-3, beating Ohio State or Penn State while falling to lower level teams in trap games.

martez wilson

Schedule:
9/5 Missouri (St. Louis)
9/12 Illinois State
9/19 OPEN DATE
9/26 at Ohio State
10/3 Penn State
10/10 Michigan State
10/17 at Indiana
10/24 at Purdue
10/31 Michigan
11/7 at Minnesota
11/14 Northwestern
11/21 OPEN DATE
11/27 at Cincinnati
12/ 5 Fresno State

Key Games:
9/5 Missouri (in St. Louis)
9/26 @ Ohio State
10/3 Penn State

Returning:
Offense: 7
Defense: 5

Key Players:
QB Juice Williams
WR Arrelious Benn
DT Sirod Williams
MLB Martez Wilson
CB Tavon Wilson
PR Jarred Fayson

The rest of the countdown:
#25 Pitt Panthers
#24 North Carolina Tar Heels

T9C Countdown: #24 North Carolina

July 30, 2009

Gearing up for the 2009 college football season takes a lot of work. Ranking players, critiquing coaches and drinking massive quantities of beer is tough. That’s why The Nine Commandments is creating its first T9C Top 25 Countdown. To see all of the previous ranked teams, be sure to check the links at the bottom of this post. Be sure to check back daily for the latest.

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Is this the last year head coach Butch Davis is at the helm in Chapel Hill, or is he in it for the long haul at UNC? Whatever the scenario, the Tar Heels face a tough slate that may push them to greatness… or total collapse.

The ACC was a conference characterized by parity with only two teams finishing below .500 within the conference and four teams leading conference play with 5-3 records. Virginia Tech is the heavy favorite to dominate the conference while I’m picking UNC to finish with a 4-4 record again, while still notching 9 wins overall.

The defense is one of the most athletic in the country, but working as a team will be the hardest part to making 2009 a success. DT Marvin Austin, LB Quan Sturdivant, CB Kendric Burney, and S Deunta Williams are a few of the players for UNC that could be playing at the next level, but they did prove somewhat ineffective in the long haul in 2008.

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This defense needs to be the cornerstone of Davis’ team if they are to succeed in cracking down on the type of running game the ACC is known for (in comparison to the pass happy Big 12 and Pac 10). The depth of the front seven is undeniable and the athleticism of the secondary should be able to shut down their opponents on third and long situations.

Third year player DT Marvin Austin headlines a defensive line that returns all of it’s players, including the run-stopping Cam Thomas. With the experience that Davis is able to put on the d-line this season, no offense in the ACC should be able to shrug off the Tar Heels defense. Look out for a tough game between UNC and Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium on October 29th.

If T.J. Yates can avoid another Frisbee incident, the offense should be able to recover from its losses in the receiver corps. Loads of talent have been recruited to help Yates find the end zone in 2009, and that’s exactly what he will be able to do. UNC will have to replace five receivers from last year’s team, but don’t be discouraged from picking the Heels to win in 2009.

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Junior Greg Little is the lone returning receiver for the Tar Heels. His 11 catches for 146 yards did not add much to the Heels offensive equation, which brings skepticism as to whether the offense will be able to produce. “Little is going to have to be the go-to guy for our receiving corps,” Davis told scout.com at The Triangle Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in North Carolina. Take this quote as you want, but Little has been a player known for his athleticism and has not solely played as a wide receiver in his time at UNC.

If Yates isn’t able to find his receivers consistently, Shaun Draughn should be able to fill the void on offense. His 866 yards last season were the result of his limited playing time because of the time he took to learn the safety position. In 2009, look for Draughn to take 20-25 snaps a game and contribute heavily to the Heels offense. His size and power should be able to make it past the line with the help of the big men up front. Some have said he should make All-ACC, but I’m not ready to step out that far based on his previous performane. Good player? Yes. Better than Darren Evans? I don’t think so.

Shaun Draughn

The whole backfield returns, which certainly helps the cause for consistency. It’s just… that whole Hakeem Nicks thing. Nicks accounted for over 1,200 yards in 2008 and the shoes will be hard to fill. The ACC will be tough, but the Tar Heels should have the depth, though relatively inexperienced, to compete in the parity filled conference. Luckily, UNC will return three offensive linemen, which obviously helps when you’re working with an experienced backfield while having an inexperienced receiver corps.

This seems to be the perfect time for Davis to prove that UNC has built an effective and sturdy team that will able to compete in the long run. Look for the Tar Heels to finish the season ranked, but ending up in a second-tier bowl game. This is a damn good physical team that should be able to surprise a lot of people.

Vegasinsider.com over/under: 8 games

Schedule:
September 5 Citadel 6:00 PM ET
September 12 @ Connecticut 12:00 PM ET
September 19 East Carolina 12:00 PM ET
September 26 @ Georgia Tech
October 3 Virginia
October 10 Georgia Southern
October 22 Florida State 8:00 PM ET
October 29 @ Virginia Tech 7:30 PM ET
November 7 Duke
November 14 Miami (FL)
November 21 @ Boston College
November 28 @ North Carolina State

Key Games:
9/19 East Carolina
10/22 Florida State
10/29 @ Virginia Tech

Returning:
6 on offense
9 on defense

Key Players:
DT Marvin Austin
S Duenta Williams
QB T.J. Yates
DT Darius Massenburg
WR Greg Little
RB Shaun Draughn

Key Losses:
MLB – Mark Paschal
WR – Hakeem Nicks (First Team All-ACC)
OT – Garrett Reynolds (First Team All-ACC)
S – Trimane Goddard (Second Team All-ACC)

The rest of the countdown:
#25 Pitt Panthers

So you think you can rap: Malcolm Kelly edition.

July 29, 2009

T9C Countdown: #25 Pittsburgh Panthers.

July 29, 2009

Gearing up for the 2009 college football season takes a lot of work. Ranking players, critiquing coaches and drinking massive quantities of beer is tough. That’s why The Nine Commandments is creating its first T9C Top 25 Countdown. Be sure to check back daily for the latest.

Louisville Pittsburgh Football

LeSean McCoy is gone but the rebuilding continues in steel country. McCoy put up 4.8 yards per rush in 2008 (1,488 total) but the success of this Pitt team relies on the offensive line, something to be expected from a Dave Wannstedt coached team.

This 2009 Pitt team will need to be tough in the gritty Big East and all signs point to this team dominating the conference. The offensive line is the driving force to Wannstedts offense with an experienced trench crew to help facilitate the run first, pass second offensive mind-set. Though they have lost their two leading rushers and first team All-Big East selection C.J. Davis on the O-Line, Wannstedt works in a system that doesn’t rely solely on individual players.

The most dominant part of this Pitt team is the defensive line, something any defensive coordinator in the country will be sure to drool over in 2009. Tackle Mick Williams and ends Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard will collapse on the pocket, stopping any team running the spread offense. Look for Pitt to command the Backyard Brawl against Bill Stewart West Virginia, locking down Jarrett Brown in the backfield. They’re fast and they will get you.

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I expect Wannstedt to go with a running back by committee to keep the defense guessing. The true freshman Dion Lewis has impressed coaches early on with his speed while Shariff Harris will be the power back the team will be looking for in the red zone. I see this aspect as one of the best, yet unexpected successes of this 2009 team.

Quarterback Bill Stull also returns for his final year hoping to better his mediocre statistics from 2008. A 57% completion rating nearly won the Panthers a trip to the Orange Bowl, but his numbers will need to improve to help his team hoist the Big East Champions trophy. With multiple running backs vying for the starting spot, Stull will need to look to the flanks for needed support to cut down on interceptions.

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What has mostly gone unnoticed in the national headlines is the teams discipline problem off the field. This is something that should be bothersome to Wannstedt if he wants to keep a team focused on the prize. MLB Adam Gunn was suspended indefinitely for public drunkenness (really?) while T.J. Porter was kicked off the team after his second DUI in less than a year. Sophomore Jonathan Baldwin has also run into legal troubles, something that should disturb Pitt fans a lot. If the discipline problems persist between now and the end of the season, Wannstedt will be pressured to sit key players, resulting in detrimental effects to the team. Keep your eye on the crime section in Pittsburgh, this may get bumpy.

If this team is to succeed, Stull needs to play above expectations without making as many mistakes as he did in 2008. While 2009 looks promising, there will obviously be many roadblocks that could trip up this team. The game at Rutgers will be tough, but if they are able to come out of that game on the positive side, Pitt will make the Orange Bowl.

ncf_a_pitt_412

2008 Fun Stats: [via Scout.com]
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Pitt 122 – Opponents 47
– Red Zone Scores: Pitt 41-of-45 (91%) – Opponents 28-of-35 (80%)
– Penalties: Opponents 73 for 624 yards – Pitt 57 for 440 yards

2009 Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TV TIME (ET)
9/05 Youngstown State 1:00 PM
9/12 @ Buffalo 12:00 PM
9/19 Navy 6:00 PM
9/26 @ North Carolina State
10/02 @ Louisville 8:00 PM
10/10 Connecticut
10/16 @ Rutgers 8:00 PM
10/24 South Florida
11/07 Syracuse
11/14 Notre Dame
11/27 @ West Virginia
12/05 Cincinnati

Vegasinsider.com over/under: 7.5

Key Games:
9/26 @NC State
10/16 @Rutgers
11/27 @West Virginia

Key Players:
TE Nate Byham – First Team All-Big East (Senior)DL Greg Romeus – Second Team All-Big East (Junior)
CB Aaron Berry – Second Team All-Big East (Senior)

Key Losses:
OG C.J. Davis – First Team All-Big East
RB LeSean McCoy – First Team All-Big East
LB Scott McKillop – First Team All-American; Big East Defensive Player of the Year
WR TJ Porter – Third leading receiver in 2008, first in 2007

And just for shits and gigs:

No, I don’t know what this is all about.

Site news: Out till the 29th.

July 23, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Haven’t posted for a while and wanted to update all of you on the progress of the site. I’m incredibly excited for the upcoming college football season and will be putting together team previews for the first official Nine Commandments top 25. The countdown to the beginning of the season will start on the 29th and run until the first game on September 3rd.

If you would like to contact me, email me at akecke@gmail.com or hit me up on twitter @Redzou

Hope you are looking forward to the previews. I know I am.

Harrell finds a home. In Saskatechewan.

July 17, 2009

080723-Graham Harrell-vmed-430p.hlarge

After not getting picked up by any teams in the NFL, Graham Harrell is looking like he’ll be coming from the journeyman role if he were to make it into the league. This is because Harrell was picked up by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (you know, the one with the 20 yard end zones). The NCAA career leader in touchdowns agreed to terms with the Roughriders today.

I always pulled for Harrell (unless TTU was playing Mizzou) because I like that despite always being called underrated because Texas Tech was just a fun and gun team with no defense. Harrell was a key part to that offense that was overshadowed by the athleticism Michael Crabtree.

It’s good to see he found a home and I hope he gets his chance in the league. Shit, Chris Simms did.

ESPN releases Thursday night football line-up.

July 14, 2009

osu_beats_usc1

I don’t quite have all my money together for the new NCAA 10 game that came out today (sucks being a poor college student) but I did find ESPNs full-season Thursday Night Line-up – Still with Erin Andrews!

ESPN is especially happy that they’re highlighting mostly BCS conference teams. From the press release:

The 2009 season marks the second straight with a BCS team in every Thursday Night game and five out of six BCS conferences participating on Thursday night.

Oh, this is SO EXCITING, let’s go slobber all over ourselves because we’re ESPN. WE RULE! STEVE HOLT!

“This is one of the most exciting Thursday night lineups we’ve had,” said Dave Brown, vice president, programming & acquisitions, ESPN. “We have a great doubleheader to kick things off, and finish off strong with the Civil War Game. We’ve worked hard to make it the Monday Night Football of college football and it’s a great way to kick off each weekend.”

A lot of the games do look at least decent and very surprising is the lack of SEC games. I’m guessing they’ll be using more games on Saturdays on ABC or ESPN. So we’ll see.

Games by conference (15 games total):
ACC: 10
Big 12: 7
Big East: 5
SEC: 3
Pac 10: 3
WAC: 1
CUSA:1

If I remember correctly, ESPN does tend to give the ACC more Thursday night games than other conferences. As I’ve said before, I can’t wait till the Missouri-Nebraska match-up because I’ll be there.

And now, the full schedule:

ESPN – Thu., Sep 3 – 7 p.m.
South Carolina at N.C. State

ESPN – Thu.,Sep 3 – 10:15 p.m.
Oregon at Boise State

ESPN – Thu., Sep 10 – 7:30 p.m.
Clemson at Georgia Tech

ESPN – Thu., Sep 17 – 7:30 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Miami

ESPN – Thu., Sep 24 – 7:30 p.m.
Mississippi at South Carolina

ESPN – Thu., Oct 1 – 7:30 p.m.
Colorado at West Virginia

ESPN – Thu., Oct 8 – 9 p.m.
Nebraska at Missouri

ESPN – Thu., Oct 15 – 7:30 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Florida

ESPN – Thu., Oct 22 – 8 p.m.
Florida State at North Carolina

ESPN – Thu., Oct 29 – 7:30 p.m.
North Carolina at Virginia Tech

ESPN – Thu., Nov 5 – 7:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech at East Carolina

ESPN – Thu., Nov 12 – 7:30 p.m.
South Florida at Rutgers

ESPN – Thu., Nov 19 – 7:30 p.m.
Colorado at Oklahoma State

ESPN – Thu., Nov 26 – 8 p.m.
Texas at Texas A&M

ESPN – Thu., Dec 3 – 9 p.m.
Oregon State at Oregon

Plan accordingly.

Gina Carano is one of us. She’s on Yardbarker now.

July 14, 2009

Gina-Carano

In a move that The Nine Commandments founder, Mike Ditka approves, Gina Carano has joined the ranks of celebrities that now blog. Yes, you can now read the Muay Thai fighter on Yardbarker. Carano will be fighting Cris CYBORG on August 15th. I’m scared for my girl, but I know she’ll be ready. Take that Cyborg!

Hey, everybody – this is my first official post and I am so excited to be a part of YARDBARKER!!! Not only will I be typing you messages every once in a while but I also have a Flip Cam (thanks, YB) and so you’ll get to see video footage of me and everything I’m going through as I get ready for my August 15th fight against Cris Cyborg.

Also:

Love, Gina

I always knew it would take a while for her to tell me she loved me, but I’m glad she finally said it. Let’s all just hope she doesn’t stop blogging after her fight on the 15th.

Shit. Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo broke up.

July 13, 2009

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In today’s news that may be very bad for my Redskins chances of making the playoffs this year, Tony Romo broke up with girlfriend Jessica Simpson on her birthday eve.

I’m currently checking the official Dallas Cowboys website, but apparently they have something called “integrity.”

The Nine Commandments does not like this revelation because of Simpson’s ability to curse Romo when in attendance. I was just hoping her death rays could burn a hole in one of the arches over the new Dallas stadium, crashing upon Romo’s throat, choking him.

Or he could just choke, himself. I’d be fine with that.

‘Big Fan’ with Patton Oswalt looks prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good.

July 13, 2009

I tried explaining this trailer and who was in it to my roommate but all that came out was “uh, yeah he’s the guy on King of Queens, no, no, maybe it’s still standing. Eh, fuck it, I won’t be able to figure this one out on the account of all that Meth I’ve been using lately.”

Then I came home and checked out withleather.com and what else do I see but Patton Oswalt’s fat mug in the middle of a embedded youtube video. Ah, technology.

From Withleather via the Sundance Film Festival website:

Paul Aufiero, a 35-year-old parking-garage attendant from working-class Staten Island, is the self-described “world’s biggest New York Giants fan.” One night Paul and his best friend, Sal, spot star Giants linebacker Quantrell Bishop at a gas station in Staten Island. They impulsively follow his SUV into Manhattan to a strip club, where they finally muster up the courage to talk to their hero.

What starts out as a dream come true turns into a nightmare as a misunderstanding ignites a violent confrontation, and Paul is sent down a path that will test his devotion to the extreme.

Sounds and looks pretty damn good, I just hope it comes to a wide release.

Also, I just love that the rest of the NFC East can come together with their hate of Dallas. You can find a lot of these keeping the fat red backs on fans of the Giants, Iggles and Redskins (and self-loathing Cowboys fans) nice and cool.

BIGFA