Monday, 31 December 2012

Bowl Season: 31st December

North Carolina State vs Vanderbilt
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – 17:00 on ESPN

The Wolfpack were hoping to have had a better season so far, but a win against an SEC opponent would be a perfect way end to the year for them as well as for the beleaguered ACC. Mike Glennon will be looking for a big game against a good Commodore defence whilst Vandy will want to cap off a very good season in the SEC with a bowl win to have them finish 9-4.

Players to Watch
North Carolina State: Mike Glennon, QB #8. He should be a fairly high pick in the NFL draft, but will want to show some consistency in a high pressure bowl game.

Vanderbilt: Jordan Matthews, WR #87. The junior has been the most consistent receiving threat on offence and will look to have a big game against a State secondary that’s been gashed a few times this season.

Pick: Vanderbilt
Confidence: 21

USC vs Georgia Tech
Hyundai Sun Bowl – 19:00 on CBS

Now that Matt Barkly is out, this matchup looks a little more of a even affair. The Yellow Jackets have been fairly poor this year but still rank fourth in the nation in rushing yardage. The key here will be for USC to try and get on top early and force Georgia Tech to try and pass it more.

Players to Watch
USC: Marquise Lee, WR #9. You have to have heard of this kid, very dangerous with the ball in hand and a great route runner. Wittek will be looking for him all day whilst Georgia Tech will push their coverage to his side so it should be a fun chess match.

Georgia Tech: Tevin Washington, QB #13. In the triple option it’s all about the decision making of the QB and Washington has shown he can be one of the best in the past despite struggling a little this year.

Pick: USC
Confidence: 13

Iowa State vs Tulsa
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – 20:30 on ESPN

The question here is, do you go with the Big 12 team that opened up by beating the Golden Hurricanes before having a patchy record, or do you go with the C-USA side that picked itself up again and went a very good 10-3. For me it comes down to the turnovers again, if the Golden Hurricanes play a clean game then I reckon they will take it but Iowa State will hope that their cyclone has more force than a golden hurricane and will once again force a few turnovers.

Players to Watch
Iowa State: A.J Klein, LB #47. The linebacker can go over 100 tackles on the season with two more tonight, he also had a 87 yard pick six early in the year showing he has some good athletic ability.

Tulsa: I would like to highlight one player but with Tulsa it’s all about the running backs; Trey Watts, Ja’Terian Douglas and Alex Singleton, they’re all capable of having a big day it just depends on which one is the hot hand.

Pick: Tulsa
Confidence: 7

#8 LSU vs #14 Clemson
Chich-fil-A Bowl – 00:30 on ESPN

Probably the biggest game of the bowl season so far, it’s strength against strength as the Tigers defence look to solve the Clemson spread. I am really torn on who to take here, but I think the smarts of Les Miles and the steady improvement of the LSU offence will be enough in conjunction with one of the games best defences to pull out the W.

Players to Watch
LSU: Sam Montgomery, DE #99. One of the most disruptive forces in the SEC, complemented perfectly by Barkevious Mingo #49, one of them is bound to have a big game.

Clemson: Tajh Boyd, QB #10. The Clemson offence has so many weapons, but the trigger man is Boyd, he’s going to have to keep the turnovers down and be near perfect to have a chance against the vaunted LSU defence.

Pick: LSU
Confidence: 1

College Bowl Season Week 3 Review: Part 1

In a week when there was plenty of bowl upsets, my Bowl Mania Pick’em seemed to go particularly bad, but despite that there was some very exciting games to watch, let’s get to reviewing them.

SHERATON HAWAII BOWL: Southern Methodist 43 - Fresno State 10
In what turned out to be a very one sided game, the Mustangs of SMU completely shut down the Fresno State run game and managed enough offence to put the game to bed by the end of the half.

Player of the Game: Margus Hunt, in what was a truly dominant performance from the Estonian, he had a safety and two forced fumbles and looked ready for Sundays.

Players to Watch: Despite having over 350 yards passing, Carr somewhat reminded me of his brother’s play behind an O-line that was overmatched. Line on the other hand was outshone by his QB on the ground, but still managed a touchdown and some solid yardage.

Pick: Wrong – 24 points lost on a game that seemed stacked in favour of Fresno State but ended up being a blow out the other way.

LITTLE CAESARS BOWL: Central Michigan 24 - Western Kentucky 21
This was a close one that really came down to the decision of the Hilltoppers interim head coach Lance Guidry trying to win the game on a fourth and 2 instead of tying the game.

Player of the Game: Ryan Radcliff finished his Chippewa career by being almost perfect and throwing three touchdowns, a really assured performance by the senior.

Players to Watch: Andrews had a solid game in for his team recording 119 yards on the ground and despite not finding the endzone his performance really drove his offence forwards. Cherocci didn’t seem to impact the game in the way I expect and only had 8 tackles.

Pick: Wrong - 20 points lost. This was always a touch one to call, and it nearly went my way.

MILITARY BOWL - PRESENTED BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN: No. 24 San Jose State 29 - Bowling Green 20

The Spartans totally eschewed the run game and played just enough defence at the right time to take this game over a Falcons team that did themselves proud.

Player of the Game: David Fales. A very efficient performance from the young QB who only threw ten incompletions and averaged 9.2 yards a completion to go along with his two touchdowns.

Players to Watch: Travis Johnson had the key turnover in the fourth quarter that led to the Spartans game ending score whilst Jones had a very disappointing game and very little impact.

Pick: Correct – 12 points won. A decent total for another game that could have gone either way in the end.

BELK BOWL: Cincinnati 48 - Duke 34

After a very quick start, the Blue Devils succumbed to a late Cincinnati surge to allow the Big East its first win of the bowl season. Both teams really opened up the playbook and very little defence was played, just what the college postseason ordered!

Player of the Game: Brendon Kay. When the Bearcats were under pressure he was the man that came up with the big plays when it mattered. Having four touchdowns was impressive but it was his ability to scramble whilst under pressure that allowed the Bearcats to mount the comeback.

Players to Watch: Blair turned in a very nice performance with 15 tackles, 1 TFL and a forced fumble to really help out the Bearcat defence whilst Crowder was outshone by Conner Vernon who is a interesting guy to watch coming upto the NFL draft.

Pick: Correct – 10 points won. If you’d have asked me how confident I was after the Bearcats got run over in the first quarter then I would have said not very, but Cincy showed some real heart to battle back and earn me 10 vital points.


Like I predicted, plenty of offence was played and after Baylor got up early, there was no catching them. UCLA just couldn’t keep pace after going down 21-0 early on, and the Bears kept them at arms length the rest of the way but playing some semi-decent defence.

Player of the Game: Glasco Martin. Two yards shy of the ton and had 3 TDs including a 26 yarder to keep the Baylor offence rolling.

Players to Watch: Neither player I chose had the impact I expected. Florence threw the ball a total of 13 times and managed 2 TDs and no turnovers, but Franklin had only 34 yards off of 14 carries as the UCLA offence turned to their passing game to try and keep them in touch.

Pick: Wrong – 17 points lost. I was always skeptical about picking UCLA, but I thought Jim Mora Jr’s NFL experience would have the Bruins game planned better. In the end the Baylor offence just had too many tricks up their sleeve.

AdvoCare V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL: Ohio 45 - Louisiana-Monroe 14

Once again, the madness of bowl play showed up most of the Bowl Mania Pick’em League when the Warhawks didn’t play up to expectations and were dominated by the Ohio Bobcats. Offensively the Warhawaks were a shadow of their in-season selves whilst the Bobcats exploded for 556 yards and 6 TDs.

Player of the Game: Beau Blankenship. The case can be made for Tettleton to be here, but Blankenship put up over 100 yards on the ground and put the ball in the endzone 4 times with his power running.

Players to Watch: Blankenship had a great game but Browning was dominated by the Ohio defence and had 3 interceptions.

Pick: Wrong – 8 points lost. The Warhawks didn’t play anywhere near their potential and gave in after a while as Ohio ran out deserved winners.

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL: Virginia Tech 13 - Rutgers 10 (OT)

Not a good advert for college football as both offences played atrociously in the poor weather conditions and were thoroughly dominated by the opposing defences. Rutgers QB Gary Nova had a fourth quarter to forget which allowed the Hokies back into the game when they hadn’t threatened the Scarlet Knights all night.

Player of the Game: If I’m honest I don’t think there was anyone that deserved this award. But I’ll go with the ESPN pick and say it was VT’s punter A.J. Hughes who put 5 punts within the 20 and had three that went of 50 yards.

Players to Watch: Greene didn’t let me down at all; he had 11 tackles with 4 for a loss and Rutgers’ only touchdown of the night. Thomas played to his season form on the night to fit my description perfectly, he stunk the place out for the majority of the night before find some rhythm in the fourth and pulling of an absolutely perfect throw for the Hokies touchdown.

Pick: Correct – 19 points won. Most people picked against VT and looked justified in doing so, but the Hokie defence, as so often in the past, came up big to propel Tech past Rutgers in OT.

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL OF TEXAS: Texas Tech 34 - Minnesota 31

This one ended up a lot closer than everyone expected. The Golden Gophers came out and gave the Tubberville-less Raiders everything the could handle.

Player of the Game: Darrin Moore. Since I didn’t get to see this game I once again bow to the pick of ESPN. Eleven catches for 84 yards, well done sir.

Players to Watch: Kirkwood rattled off 77 yards and a touchdown whlst Doege had a fairly poor night having 2 picks and only one touchdown.

Pick: Correct – 33 points won. I expected an easy win for Tech, but I got the points in the end, that’s all that matters.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

NFL Predictions: Week 17

An identical (but solid) week of results  means I'm in a strong position going into the final week of the regular season. It's disappointing for the year's football to be almost over for most teams (and it really has flown by) but I'm excited for the post-season, which looks set to be a great one with so many strong teams competing. Most of the divisions are already locked up, but with a week of pure divisional games it should still be a fantastic close to a memorable regular season.

Week 16 = 11-5

Overall = 153-88

Sunday First Wave

Falcons @ Buccaneers
This should be an open and shut case with the Falcons continuing to fly high and the Buccs done. I wouldn’t put it past Tampa to make it competitive though.

DBL Coverage Prediction: Falcons by 7

Jets @ Bills
McElroy did not have an ideal start against the Chargers suffering 11 sacks, and I can't see him getting a much calmer ride in Buffalo. The Jets beat them convincingly very early in the season, but a lot has changed since then.

DBL Coverage Prediction: Bills by 10

Ravens @ Bengals
Tough one to call as both looked very good last Sunday, and the NFC North has already been decided.  Baltimore will have their foot off the gas a little so I like Cincy to grab a very narrow win.

DBL Coverage Prediction:  Bengals by 3

NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

**As always a reminder that my power rankings are not based on who I think is going to win the Super Bowl, but who would be most dangerous to play in week 17. Look out for my SB rankings next week, plus end of season grades for every team.**

1.            Denver Broncos 12-3 (U1)
Denver comfortably beat Cleveland as expected, and move up to the number one slot. 10 games unbeaten is impressive despite their weak schedule, and there’s no reason why they shouldn't make it 11 with a visit from the Chiefs this weekend. The best team in the league is a tumultuous thing to try and pin down, but right now Manning and the Broncos have as good a claim as anyone.

2.            Seattle Seahawks 10-5 (U5)
It’s almost the end of the season, and time to put my money where my mouth is with the Hawks. I've been ahead of the curve in their support all year so it’s only fitting I jump them up to Silver going into the final week. They just smashed the 49ers, and boast a ‘conservative’ run based offense that has put up 40+ points the last few weeks. If there are any Seattle (or Wilson) doubters left, I’d like to hear from them. More plus points are Sherman has just won his appeal and they host the Rams next.

3.            Atlanta Falcons 13-2 (U2)
The Falcons have been in and amongst the top 5 all year, so I think #3 is a fair assessment of where they are now. They’ve just had dominant wins over NY and Detroit and should feel quietly confident going into their final game against Tampa having already secured the #1 seed (they may well rest their stars in this game, so this and all my rankings assume teams field full squads).

4.            New England Patriots 11-4 (D1)
The Pats drop a spot after a lack-lustre win over Jacksonville. They had better hope their last 2 performances have been a blip rather than a slump with the play-offs looming, but are still one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Hosting Miami next should be a relaxed ramp up to the post-season.

5.            Green Bay Packers 11-4 (U1)
The Packers blow out the Titans, moving up to #5. Nothing more needs to be said about A-Rod and co., other than that they are blooming at exactly the right time. They've secured their division and will have all eyes on their post-season chances.

Bowl Season: 29th December

Rice vs Air Force
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - 16:45 on ESPN

Two 6-6 teams will slug it out in what should be a interesting match up between two strong rushing attacks. Air Force rank second in the nation in rushing yards per game behind their triple option attack whilst Rice offer a much more balanced look but are still very potent on the ground. Rice are riding a four game winning streak, which should give them a lot of confidence coming into the game even if it is off a mediocre Conference-USA schedule.

Players to Watch
Rice: Taylor McHargue, QB 16. The man that does everything under centre, 11 TDs on the ground as well as in the passing game.

Air Force: Cody Getz, #28 RB. In a run game that features a little bit of everyone on offence, Getz has still managed to stand out with a 6.4 yard average on  1213 yards along with his 11 TDs.

Pick: Air Force
Confidence: 16

West Virginia vs Syracuse
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - 20:15 on ESPN

The early season team that everyone was talking about, West Virginia, rolls into New York to take on a Syracuse team that knocked off undefeated Louisville. The Mountaineers high powered offence really let itself down late on in the season and will be looking to help their defence out against a strong Orange Men passing game by putting up a lot of points.

Players to Watch
West Virginia: Geno Smith, QB #12. Video game like numbers and likely the first QB off the board come draft day, if he performs at New Yankee stadium like Marioan usually does, then I think his Mountaineers will win.

Syracuse: Ryan Nassib, QB #12. Here's another guy that will likely get picked up come draft day, albeit a bit later than Smith, he's still a good QB with the ability to post some huge numbers on a weak West Virginia defence.

Pick: West Virginia
Confidence: 22

Navy vs Arizona
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - 21:00 on ESPN

The biggest underdogs of bowl season, Navy, take on a Sundevils team that got embarassed by Boise Sate in bowl season play last year. It's hard to pick against State in this one who have been very solid in all aspects of their game this season, but the men from Navy will certainly make them earn the win.

Players to Watch
Navy: Keenan Reynolds, QB #19. The freshman has been a breath of fresh air since replacing Trey Miller earlier in the season. If he can play within the system and not make too many errors, he might give Navy a good chance of winning this thing.

Arizona State: Brandon Magee, LB #8. A man with over 100 tackles is sure to have a big game stats wise against a very run heavy team.

Pick: Arizona State
Confidence: 15

#23 Texas vs #13 Oregon State
Valero Alamo Bowl - 23:45 on ESPN

A Longhorn team that's had a very up and down year will take on a Beaver squad that's impressed all season and outperformed all expectations. Oregon State rank 15th in the nation in passing yards per games whilst the Texas defence has been a bit of a disappointment for the talent that they have on that side of the ball. Amidst all this, the Longhorns had to send home two players yesterday for violating team rules, one of them being Case McCoy, you hope that Mack Brown finds a way to keep their heads in this game.

Players to Watch
Texas: Johnathan Gray, #32 RB. The freshman will hope to see a lot of touches in his first ever bowl game, he can have a big impact if he gets a good workload.

Oregon State: Sean Mannion, QB #4. The play of Mannion will be paramount to the Beavers success, will have to keep an eye on his turnovers to give his team the best chance possible.

Pick: Oregon State
Confidence: 26

TCU v Michigan State
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - 03:15 on ESPN

This one is all defence against defence, the biggest thing to watch in the game is how much impact LeVeon Bell will have running the ball on the TCU front. If the Horned Frogs find a way to bottle him up, then they will be in a great position to pull off an upset.

Players to Watch
TCU: Trevone Boykin, QB #2. Having been pressed into action after the suspension of Casey Pachall, Boykin has done a fine job of leading the Horned Frogs. Ball security is key for Boykin against a very aggressive and physical Michigan State front seven.

Michigan State: LeVeon Bell, RB #24. Probably off to the NFL after this game, he is the focal point of the Spartans offence and will look to carry his 266 yards season finale against Minnesota into this one.

Pick: TCU
Confidence: 23

Friday, 28 December 2012

Bowl Season: 28th December Games

Thursday 28th December

Ohio vs Louisiana-Monroe
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl – 19:00 on ESPN

Ohio somewhat limped into post season play by finishing 1-4 after winning their first seven games, which included an opening day triumph over Penn State, being lead by the junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton the Bobcats run a solid run game which is backed up by a efficient passing game which has only turned over the ball four times all year. The Warhwaks on the other hand opened up their season by stunning then #8 Arkansas, but ended up dropping games to Arkansas State and Louisiana Lafayette in Sun Belt play and are led by all-passing, all-running Kolton Browning. Look for the Warhwaks to push the pace on offence whilst the Bobcats try to play a controlled offensive game and rely on their defence to make a play.

Players to Watch
Ohio: Beau Blankenship, RB #22. The 5'9", 202lbs Blankenship enters the game at spot on 1500 yards  rushing and averaging 5.1 per carry, he even has a 269 yard game on his resume this year.
Louisiana-Monroe: Kolton Browning, QB #15. Browning has been far and away the offensive star and the reason the Warhawks upset the Razorbacks, he even leads the team in rushing with 441 yards and 7 TDs.

Pick: LA-Monroe
Confidence: 8

Rutgers vs Virginia Tech
Russell Athletic Bowl – 22:30 on ESPN

The Hokies have had one of their most disappointing years in a long time and only just managed to go 6-6 by squeaking past both Boston College and Virginia to end the year. Tech’s chance all fall on the shoulders of Logan Thomas and his play, at times he looks like a top level QB, but far too often he just makes horrible throws.
Rutgers have hung their hats on very strong defensive play, as they rank 5th in the nation in points allowed, but also have a big play threat on offense in 6”6’ wide receiver Brandon Coleman who can provide a spark with big catches at opportune times.

Players to Watch
Rutgers: Khaseem Greene, OLB #20. ‘Tackle Machine’ Khaseem Greene (think ‘Mean’ Joe Greene), just made that up, but in all seriousness he has 125 tackles on the year as well as 10.5 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions. He is going to be a sneaky high pick in the draft.
Virginia Tech: Logan Thomas, QB #3. Thomas has a huge arm and the ability to make any throw, he just doesn’t do it all the time, and that’s what’s hampered the Hokies offense this season. If he has a good game then Virginia Tech will likely win the game, but more often than not this season he’s been poor.

Pick: Virginia Tech
Confidence: 19

Minnesota vs Texas Tech
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – 02:00 on ESPN

Despite losing Tommy Tubberville, the Red Raiders have a great air-raid offence to fall back on and will be looking for Seth Doege to lead as he has done all season and likely add a few more TDs to his 38 passing scores. The Golden Gophers really struggled through Big 10 play but are faced with an unfamiliar proposition in a very pass heavy offensive attack. If Minnesota adjusts to this then they should be able to put up a fight, but I’m not too sure that they will be able to pull off any kind of upset.

Players to Watch
Minnesota: Donnell Kirkwood, RB #20. About the only consistent piece of the Golden Gopher offence, had a couple of poor games to end the season but could find some lanes against a average Texas Tech defence.
Texas Tech: Seth Doege, QB #7. The fearless gunslinger that orchestrates the Red Raiders offence, he’s piled up a lot of yardage through the air, but needs to watch his turnovers.

Pick: Texas Tech
Confidence: 33

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Bowl Season: 27th of December Games

Knowing that you’ve been missing some Double Coverage content over Christmas and Boxing Day, I’m back to preview a few more of the upcoming bowl games. There are a lot to watch in this run up to New Year, so stay on top of your Bowl Mania entry and hope that you have the magic touch when it comes to picking the winner (unlike me). A review of all of week three’s games will be posted next Monday.

Wednesday 27th December

#24 San Jose State vs Bowling Green
Military Bowl – Presented by Northrop Grumman – 20:00 on ESPN

Here we have another bowl game where the head coach of one of the teams, San Jose State, has already moved onto another job, Colorado, and the players will be looking to complete the season without the man that got them there, Mike MacIntyre. Bowling Green are a very solid MAC team and rank 8th in the nation in points against and so will be a test for San Jose State’s 11th ranked passing attack. The Falcons offence will be looking to feed off of a strong defensive performance which has largely been their key to success this year.

Players to Watch
San Jose State: Travis Johnson, DE #43. The WAC player of the year on defense had 12 sacks this year to go along with his 19 tackles for a loss, and is a key piece of the Spartans winning puzzle as they will look for him to go to work and pressure the Falcons backfield if they are trailing and need to pass.

Bowling Green: Chris Jones, DT #19. Another conference defensive player of the year, Jones has 12.5 sacks coming from the interior of the D-line, Bowling Green will also be looking for him to regularly get into the backfield to pressure David Fales.

Pick: San Jose State
Confidence: 12

Cincinnati vs Duke
Belk Bowl – 23:30 on ESPN

After a flying start to the season going 5-1, the Blue Devils limped into bowl play by finishing the year with a palendromic  1-5, whilst the Bearcats finished at 9-3 including a three point victory over Virginia Tech. The key to this one could be Cincinnati’s defence which ranked 12th in the nation and is backed up on offence by a strong rushing attack lead by senior running back George Winn. The Blue Devils on the other hand are very pass heavy lead by Sean Renfree who earned the Tatum Award for being the ACC’s top senior student-athlete. Despite this being another game that looks fairly easy to call, I think Duke might be putting up more of a fight than many expect.

Players to Watch
Cincinnati: Greg Blair, LB #51. The senior has been the lynchpin of the Bearcat defense and averages 10.25 tackles a game with 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 2 picks. Duke will be looking to keep the ball away from him, but may not have the choice.

Duke: Jamison Crowder, WR #3. This sophomore had a big season in blue and accumulate over 1000 yards on 70 receptions, which included one of those mythical 99 yards TD receptions.

Pick: Cincinnati
Confidence: 10

Baylor vs #17 UCLA
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – 02:45 on ESPN

This one is late for all of us UK fans but I bet it’ll be a good one to watch if you stay up for it as there should be plenty of offense on show between the Bruins and the Bears. UCLA will be looking to top off their comeback season in the Pac-12 with a bowl victory whilst, Baylor will probably just be looking to chuck the ball through the air for as many yards as possible. The Bears rank 5th overall in points scored and 3rd overall in passing yards and are unlikely to play any defense as they have demonstrated throughout the season by allowing at least 45 points in 5 of their games. The key here could be the turnover battle, the Bruins have picked off a total of 15 passes and have a turnover margin of +4, whilst Baylor have a margin of +5 having 18 interceptions themselves. For me, the team that gets ahead early on could see themselves winning, UCLA have the ability to grind out a results on the ground, having said that, I wouldn’t count Baylor out even if they were down by a few scores.

Players to Watch
Baylor: Nick Florence, QB #11. The man who replaced RGIII has done a fine job in leading the offence with over 4000 yards and 31 touchdowns, I think the word gunslinger applies here and he’ll certainly be looking to slice up the Bruins defense.

UCLA: Johnathan Franklin, RB #23. After being a early Heisman contender, Franklin experienced a slow down in his production mid-season before having more 150+ yard games and finally ending the season with 194 yards against the Stanford front seven. Look for the explosive Franklin to get lots of touches tonight.

Pick: UCLA
Confidence: 17

Monday, 24 December 2012

College Bowl Season Week 3: Part 1

Now the bowl season really gets into the meat of it's action with a total of thirteen games being played this week! So in the spirit of Christmas and evening out my writing load, you are going to get a few preview presents at a time over the next week, so keep checking back. First up we have the Christmas Eve and Boxing Day games to take care of, and if any of you support one of these four teams (don't know why you would though), then I hope you get all that you wished for off of the BCS Santa.

Monday 24th December

Fresno State vs SMU
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl @ 01:00 on ESPN

This Christmas Eve clash sees a three loss Fresno team lead by Derek Carr (brother of the infamous David Carr), take on a SMU team, who barely made it into postseason play and are lead by former Texas Longhorns QB Garrett Gilbert. In the end I think this is a rather weak bowl matchup that should see the Mountain West newbies bully their way past the Mustangs of SMU.

Players to Watch
Fresno State: I have already mentioned his name, but he is probably known to most college fans due to his family ties rather than his outstanding play this year, Derek Carr (QB #4). He has a QB rating of 160.6 with 36 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions on the season, so look for him to be slinging the ball all over the field in Hawaii.

SMU: Zach Line, RB #48. This senior will hope to have a big impact in his last game for the Mustangs and he needs to if SMU are going to have any chance against the Bulldogs. It’s the age-old football story of keeping the ball out of the oppositions explosive offense’s hands, Line needs to pound the rock and take some of the pressure off of the shaky Gilbert.

My Pick: Fresno State.
Confidence: 29

Wednesday 26th December

Western Kentucky vs Central Michigan
Little Caesars Bowl @ 00:30 on ESPN 

How do you choose between two average teams from the MAC and the Sun Belt conference? And no, it’s not a joke. For me, the schedules revealed a lot about both sides with Central Michigan having been beaten up by mostly running teams, whilst the Hilltoppers are a good running offence and have only lost to some of the countries surprisingly good teams this year. If it sounds like I’m clutching a little at straws here, it’s because I am, having not watched either of these teams this season I’m probably in the dark as much as you guys.

Players to Watch
Western Kentucky: Antonio Andrews, RB #5. The workhorse of the Western Kentucky offence, he has amassed 1609 yards on the ground as well as another 411 through the air, showing that he’s a big part of their game plan.

Central Michigan: Justin Cherocci, LB #41. The tackling machine in the Chippewa defense that needs to scythe down Andrews on every play, look for him to always be around the ball.

My Pick: Western Kentucky
Confidence: 3

College Bowl Season Week 2 Review

Thursday 20th December

San Diego County Credit Poinsettia Bowl: BYU 23 – Sand Diego State 6

The undisputed player of the game; Kyle van Noy.

This game was intriguing to watch play out, it was a messy football for three quarters with the Aztecs looking good but unable to actually break the whitewash, whilst BYU looked sluggish and almost as if they didn’t want to be playing. But luckily for BYU, Kyle van Noy decided to take over the game and accounted for two touchdowns with both a fumble recovery after his own sack in the endzone as well as a pick six. In the end, the game itself won’t be memorable, but van Noy’s performance will be.

Player of the Game: Kyle van Noy. As previously mentioned he single headedly won the game for the Cougars, having a key punt block, big sacks and two scores on defence. A truly dominant performance!

Players to Watch: Ansah had a nice game with an interception as well a forced fumble. Outshone by van Noy in the end, but overall a solid showing. Muema was the only bright spot for the Aztecs on offence, despite not scoring, he had some excellent runs to really help his team out.

Pick: Correct – 6 confidence points won. Once again, my low confidence looked warranted as BYU were really poor to start with, but in the end I managed to pick up another win and kept adding to my points total.

Friday 21st December

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg: UCF 38 – Ball State17

In the end, Mr. Bortles was too much for Ball State to handle.

Despite my pick going the wrong way for me, this one was fun to watch. Bortles and UCF’s offence put on a show and ran the game from the get go, never giving the Cardinals a look in. If the Ball State's offence had shown some of their form from earlier in the season, the game could have been close, but credit UCFs defence for stifling them and holding Ball State to only 3 from 9 conversions on 3rd down.

Player of the Game: Blake Bortles: His performance was head and shoulders above the rest as he threw 3 TDs and was also the teams leading rusher with 80 yards off of 9 carries with another score.

Players to Watch: As mentioned, Bortles put in the performance I expected but Ball State’s Edwards didn’t get enough of the ball to make a big impression on the game. I believe this was mainly due to his side playing from behind, but he did average 6.4 yards whilst only having 14 carries, so his production was quite good.

Pick: Wrong – 2 points lost. I felt like this one was a coin flip, hence only 2 points wagered on it, first loss of the bowl season for me.

Saturday 22nd December

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: LA-Lafayette 43 – ECU 34

Despite a solid ECU performance, they trailed LA-La all game.

If I say that there were 45-second quarter points, I think that tells you roughly what you need to know! From 98 yard drives lead by the backup QB for the Ragin’ Cajuns to ECU’s Justin Hardy making a spectacular leaping catch for a touchdown, offensive junkies had a lot to digest. ECU dug themselves a bit of hole, making this game look like one to sleep on before rallying themselves and making a go at but coming up short in then end.

Player of the Game: For me, this could have gone to either Terrance Broadway or Alonzo Harris, but Broadway accounted for 426 yards and 2 scores whilst taking some real punishment, in my eyes, that’s player of the game worthy.

Players to Watch: Broadway certainly did me proud, but Hardy showed glimpses of what he could do without really taking over the game. Carden really shared the ball around the ECU offense so Hardy’s impact was limited, but he did show off his physical talent with the jump he made to haul in his touchdown.

Pick: Correct – 5 points won. My points looked safe early on before ECU found their groove, but UL-La rode the play of Broadway to give me another tick in my ESPN entry.

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Boise State 28 – Washington 26

"Wait, you're telling me we're playing them to kick off next year as well??"

The second instalment of bowl play on Saturday night turned out to be another evenly matched encounter that saw the Broncos of Boise narrowly edge the Huskies with a late field goal. There was plenty of trickeration from the Boise offence, which constantly kept the Huskie defence on their heels whereas Steve Sarkisian’s team relied on the more traditional run game, leaving Bishop Sankey to grind out plenty of yards. In the end, despite taking the lead in the fourth quarter for the first time, Washington gave up a big return on the ensuing kick, ultimately making the Broncos offence and Michael Frisina’s job of winning the game a lot easier.

Player of the Game: It’s hard to fault Joe Southwick’s performance, but despite being on the losing team, Bishop Sankey’s performance was the best of the day, keeping his team in the game with 205 yards and a touchdown.

Players to Watch: Sankey’s performance has already been mentioned, justifying my player to watch pick, but Demarcus Lawrence on the other hand let me down massively, so badly in fact that he did not play at all! He was suspended for a violation of team rules late in the week before the game, but at least I was right saying that he was a player to keep an eye on.

Pick: Correct – 18 points won. Boise seemed to be sailing to an 18-point gain for me, but Washington almost threw a spanner in the works at the end, my biggest haul of the bowl season so far!

Double Coverage Bowl Mania Standings after Week 2

With my correct picks in three out of the four games I amassed another 29 points to take my total to 44, but I am still languishing in fourth place. At the top of the league is Zinkus RTR with 71 points after the UCF win netted him 20 points. Next week sees 13 more games being played meaning that the league will really start to take shape.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Double Coverage announces partnership with Pro Player Insiders!

Double Coverage is proud to announce a new partnership with

The purpose of the partnership is to work together to produce content that is both interesting and informative for both of our audiences, exposing the game in the UK to a wider US audience, and in turn giving Double Coverage an in-depth look at lifestyles of players of the game in the states.

Pro Player Insiders brings a unique, behind the scenes look at the lives and lifestyles of the players of the National Football League (NFL) with up-to-the-minute news, analysis, interviews, coverage of community events and featured contributions from current and former NFL players and their families.

We offer a peek into player’s personal lives and what matters to them, on and off the football field, as well as a look at the latest health and style trends, reviews of the newest technology, musicians and much more.

Their current affiliates boast numerous fan based team sites such as PatriotsExtra and ChicagoBearsFAM, photographers such as Kevin Koski and health and nutrition experts such as Dave Ellis and Francis Mitcheli.

Their ‘Insiders’ section is fueled by a diverse group of athletes, experts and celebrities, giving the readers insight into what it is like to be a professional athlete.

In addition to our reporters and ‘Insiders’, we work closely with NFL Players Inc. as an official licensed partner, which gives us exclusive access directly to the players and special events.

Pro Players Insiders is the true voice of the players. For more information visit: also see us on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @PlayerInsiders.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

GB Uni Lions squad announced!


Announcing the squad, Coach Hill said “The Great Britain coaching staff were impressed by the talent on view at the Loughborough trials and the decision-making process was difficult. That said, we believe we have selected a great group of athletes who will represent British student football well when we travel to Sweden.”

The squad announced today is slightly larger than the final squad which will travel to Sweden. This is in order for Coach Hill and his staff to continue to evaluate the players to ensure the highest calibre of players represent the programme in Sweden.

Full squad list:
Position / Name / Institution.
QB Tristain Varney - Birmingham
QB Joe Thompson - Hertfordshire
QB James Slack - Loughborough
QB Jake Simpson - Surrey
QB James Cunningham - Hertfordshire

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

School of the Legends competition

To celebrate our new partnership with School of the Legends we are running a competition to win the following:

A code to get access to their on-line coaching for free
Sports bag
A sports drinks bottle
Wrist bands

To enter the competition please email the correct answer to the following question to :

Which School of the Legends coach is a hall of famer in the NFL as well as the Canadian Football Hall of Fame?

A) Jerome Bettis
B) Archie Manning
C) Warren Moon

The competition will be open until 12pm Friday 21st December.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

1.            San Francisco 49ers 10-3-1 (U3)
That was a dominant win over what most considered to be the best team in the league, at this point last week. Even if they lose to the Hawks this weekend the Niners only have to beat the Cardinals in SF to clinch the West. Plain sailing you would think.

2.            Denver Broncos 11-3 (-)
Denver just demolished a once sturdy Baltimore squad, and with it put down a claim for the best in the AFC. We’ll have to wait for the play-offs to put that to the test, as I don’t see visiting Cleveland causing too many headaches for Manning and co.

3.            New England Patriots 10-4 (D2)
Despite the loss the Pats rallied hard from behind, coming close to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. You can never count Brady out, and they will still be confident of a deep post-season run. They can take out their frustration over last week on the Jags, who I feel a little sorry for going into this one.

4.            Houston Texans 12-2 (D1)
Houston win, but don’t deserve to be on the podium after their lop-sided loss to NE 2 weeks ago. They’ve had a fantastic season, but will be wary of another match-up with the Pats come January. Next they face Adrian Peterson (and 10 other anonymous offensive players).

5.            Atlanta Falcons 12-2 (U1)
The Falcons curb stomp the Giants 34-0, and will have recovered a huge amount of confidence with the manner of the win. Next they face Detroit, who just lost to the Cardinals. Yep.

NFL Predictions: Week 16

A solid week of predicting among a week of blow outs in the NFL. It's almost refreshing after all the upsets and narrow results this year to see teams flexing their muscles on Statement Sunday and with the play-offs a mere fortnight away it should be an exciting end to the 2012 season.

Week 15 = 11-5

Overall = 142-83

Saturday Night Football:

Falcons @ Lions
After Atlanta's demolition of the Giants and the Lions' lop-sided loss to Arizona, this one is something of a no-brainer. I do think Detroit will make it competitive though.

DBL Coverage Prediction: Falcons by 7

College Bowl Season Week 2

Thursday, December 20th

BYU vs San Diego State
San Diego County Credit Poinsettia Bowl @ 01:00 on ESPN

Two former WAC rivals will face each other in what should be a hard fought and physical matchup. BYU's are better than their 7-5 record belies, their losses came against three ranked teams in Boise State, Oregon State and Notre Dame and two more quality teams in Utah and San Jose State, non of which were blowouts. The Azetecs also took a loss against San Jose State but came out at 9-3 in what was a slightly weaker schedule, but one that did include a 21-19 victory over the previously mentioned Boise State. As all the analysts have been saying this week, the key area to watch is SDSU's run game against BYU's run defence, but I would also keep and eye on how Cougar WR Cody Hoffman performs against a very average pass defence.

Players to Watch
BYU: Ezekiel Ansah, LB/DE #47. If you haven't heard about him yet, you will do quite a bit in the run up to the NFL draft so this is a good chance to watch him perform in college before he goes pro. At 6'6" and 250 lbs he is one of those height/weight/speed guys who's not only steadily improving his pass rush skills, but is also good at stuffing the run, which will be important come Thursday night. And just before you get all the spiel from the analysts on Thursday, he's from Ghana and wanted to play basketball and ran the 100m in 10.91 blah blah blah....

Sand Diego State: Adam Muema, RB # 4. You know you need to keep an eye on a player when he has 211 carries and averages 6.4 yards per touch. With his backup now being out for the season, Muema will need to have a even bigger game than usual.

My Pick: BYU
Confidence: 6

Friday, December 21st

Central Florida vs Ball State
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg @ 00:30 on ESPN

Despite the fact that neither team really reached a national audience during the regular season, it's hard to fault their bodies of work. Ball State may have the slightly more prolific offence, but that should match up nicely against a Knights team that has been very effective in the turnover department with 26 takeaways during the season.

Players to Watch
UCF: Blake Bortles, QB #5. A very efficient passer who is very safe with the ball and has shown a knack for finding the endzone with his feet when it counts as he has 7 rushing scores on the year.

Ball State: Jahwan Edwards, RB #32. After an up and down start to the year, Edwards came on strong in the last six games, only narrowly missing have 100 yards in each by 'only' having 98 against Miami of Ohio.

My Pick: Ball State
Confidence: 2

Saturday, December 22nd

East Carolina vs Louisiana - Lafayette 
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl @ 17:00 on ESPN

If you ask me, this is the type of game that makes bowl season so much fun to watch, it may look like two average 8-4 teams squaring off in one of the fringe bowls, but if you delve a little deeper, it has a couple of intriguing sub-plots (thanks ESPN). The Pirates haven't won a bowl game in their past three attempts whilst the Ragin' Cajuns, who ran the Gators so close this year, are only in their second ever bowl game after defeating San Diego State in their first one last year. Okay, those sub-plots are not THAT compelling, but usually these smaller bowls turn out to be the most exciting ones to watch.

Players to Watch
ECU: Justin Hardy, WR #2. Shane Carden's favourite target and Biletnikoff watch list member Hardy is easily ECU's biggest threat out wide, accounting for 43% of Carden's completions this year.

Louisiana - Lafayette: Terrance Broadway, QB #8. The Baton Rouge native is a dual-threat QB that has accounted for 26 scores for his team and does a good job at sharing the ball around the offence. ECU are ranked 105th against the pass, so look for Broadway to have some big numbers through the air.

My Pick: Louisiana - Lafayette
Confidence: 5

Washington vs #19 Boise State
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas @ 20:30 on ESPN

The highest profile matchup of the week takes place in Vegas and will give us a look at two teams that have had 'down' years by their standards, but are still very good and will be looking to carry some momentum into 2013. The Huskies have had a very up and down year, having knocked off two ranked teams in Oregon State and Stanford before suffering a season finale defeat to lowly Washington State in OT. Boise State haven't lost three games in a season since 2007 and will want to retain their top 25 position going into next season with a win over the Huskies.

Players to Watch
Washington: Bishop Sankey, RB #25. Against a team that ranks fourth in the nation against the pass, Sankey's job on offence is going to be to have a big enough impact to bring the Boise defenders into the box so as to help QB Keith Price out in the passing game.

Boise State: Demarcus Lawrence, DL #8. This sophomore has been very disruptive up front for the Broncos, having 8.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles and even a touchdown on a fumble return. If Boise are needing a big play on defence, look for this man to deliver.

My Pick: Boise State
Confidence: 18

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