A VIEW FROM THE SIDELINE

s e Note Gam
Win and...get help
Unchartered Territory The Houston Texans are 8-7 for the first time in organization history and a win will put them at 9-7 for, repeat after me, the first time ever. But, 9-7 will be hollow without a playoff trip. The Texans need to beat New England and then hope for help. Check out LZ’s write-up, pg. 2

allas - Jan. Philly vs. D

R E D E M P T I O N ?3 ,

2010

exas D A l l a s  T

Last year, the Cowboys were on the fast train to Quitsville. This year, though, is a different story, but will the final chapter read in Dallas?
Pla y offs & bo w l g a m e s ? No th i n’ Be t t e r

December’s Song
Can Favre turnaround in Jan.? Although it’s hard to fault Brett Favre for the ENTIRE Viking swoon in December, you can’t argue with the fact that this trend has been there for the past six to seven years for Favre-led teams. Can January be different for the Vikes against the Giants? Check out page 4.

T

he NFL playoff picture is completed, with the exception of seeding in the NFC. But, that picture is as clouded as it could be in the AFC. Here goes: Jets and Ravens win and they’re in. Broncos, Texans and Steelers win and need help. Jags and the Dolphins can still get in, but it’ll take a minor miracle to get them there. But, just ask Philadelphia who needed that miracle last year. The Eagles got it and took it all the way to the NFC Championship game.

The NFC playoff picture is clearer, well, as it pertains to the six teams; now, it’s just about order and chaos. Or, chaos and order. A Minnesota loss will have them playing Wild Card weekend, but a win and a Philly loss will give them that coveted first round bye.

New Year’s Day!
Welcome Back to Pasadena! It’s been a while since Ohio State and Oregon have been to the Rose Bowl...as Rose Bowl participants. However, this matchup has plenty of intrigue and could be the most “fun” game on 1/1/2010!

JH & LZ on radio
1560 The Game Catch Lance Zierlein from 6 to 10 am daily, alongside John Granato. Listen to John Harris on the Sean and John show, with Sean Pendergast show 3 to 7 PM daily. www.1560thegame.com

The college season concludes with its January games and the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena. Alabama and Texas meet in the title game - the one the SEC has dominated the last three seasons.

NFL SECTION BY LANCE ZIERLEIN

WEEK 17

New England (10-5) vs. Houston (8-7)
January 3, 2010 - CBS 12 PM CST Vegas Line: HOU -8 / 46
t 2009 ATS Record 7-7-1 2009 Over/Under 4-10-1 Last 5 Games 12/27 W, Jacksonvi!e 35-7 12/20 W, @ Buffalo 17-10 12/13 W, Carolina 20-10 12/6 L, @ Miami 21-22 11/30 L, @ New Orleans 17-38 123.1 ypg - 11th 279.5 ypg - 4th 26.7 ppg - 7th 108.3 ypg - 11th 204.0 ypg - 7th 16.7 ppg - 4th +7 - 8th 2009 Ranking Run Offense Pass Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Scoring Defense TO Margin 88.7 ypg - 31st 290.6 ypg - 2nd 23.6 ppg - 11th 109.1 ypg - 13th 216.3 ypg - 17th 20.4 ppg - 15th -2 - 18th 2009 ATS Record 7-7-1 2009 Over/Under 4-10-1 Last 5 Games 12/27 W, @ Miami 27-20 12/20 W, @ St. Louis 16-13 12/13 W, Seattle 34-7 12/6 L, @ Jacksonvi!e 18-23 11/29 L, Indianapolis 27-35

Last Meeting: New England - 40 vs. Houston - 7 (12/17/2006) Patriots Keys to Victory... The Patriots are still being coy about who will play and who won't but obviously Las Vegas thinks the Patriots are going to rest some of their key starts since the Texans opened as a touchdown favorite.  I anticipate the Patriots playing their starters for a half or possibly less and if that happens, they have some serious matchup problems that they can impose on the Texans secondary. The Patriots haven't allowed a sack in their last four games, but they will probably try and run the ball if Brady is in the game just to be safe. On defense, the Patriots secondary has been much better since safeties Meriweather and Sanders have returned to the lineup and if the Patriots can rush Matt Schaub with some level of effectiveness, they should be able to slow the Texans offense down. If Schaub has time to throw, the Pats defense will be in trouble. Texans Keys to Victory...The improvement of the running game last weekend had as much to do with the offensive line of the Texans as it had to do with RB Arian Foster. However, the Texans will have some problems with the Patriots defensive front this week as the Patriots 3-4 figures to cause more problems for the Texans than the Dolphins 3-4 did. The Pats have been somewhat average against the run, but they should be better at shutting down the interior running game which means the Texans might try to match their LBs up in coverage like they did to the Dolphins. The Texans rush defense has been terrific over the last 12 games and the Patriots don't figure to give them as severe a test as they've seen in other games this season. The secondary, however, will have problems if QB Brady starts because he’ll figure out who the weak link is in coverage and pick at them over and over. Conclusion: The Patriots know that if they win this game, they could potentially open the door for the Steelers to make it into the playoffs (even though that would still be quite a long-shot) which I'm sure they don't want to happen.  I'm not saying the Patriots will try and tank this game, but I do think they will ultimately treat this game like they would the second game of preseason which means this game should be there for the taking by the Texans.

Texans - 24 vs. Patriots - 17

Philadelphia (11-4) vs. Dallas (10-5)
January 3, 2010 - FOX 3 PM CST Vegas Line: DAL -3 / 47.5
t 2009 ATS Record 9-6-0 2009 Over/Under 10-5-0 Last 5 Games 12/27 W, Denver 30-27 12/20 W, San Francisco 27-13 12/13 W, @ NY Giants 45-38 12/6 W, @ Atlanta 34-7 11/29 W, Washington 27-24 106.7 ypg - 21st 259.9 ypg - 9th 28.6 ppg - 3rd 99.7 ypg - 8th 211.1 ypg - 13th 20.9 ppg - 16th +15 - 2nd 2009 Ranking Run Offense Pass Offense Scoring Offense Run Defense Pass Defense Scoring Defense TO Margin 128.3 ypg - 8th 266.1 ypg - 6th 22.5 ppg - 14th 94.1 ypg - 5th 228.3 ypg - 21st 16.7 ppg - 3rd +2 - 14th 2009 ATS Record 8-7-0 2009 Over/Under 6-9-0 Last 5 Games 12/27 W, @ Washington 17-0 12/19 W, @ NO 24-17 12/13 L, San Diego 17-20 12/6 L, @ NY Giants 24-31 11/26 W, Oakland 24-7

Last Meeting: Dallas - 20 vs. Philadelphia - 16 (11/8/2009) Eagles Keys to Victory... The Cowboys defense did a nice job of controlling the Eagles offense last time out in their 20-16 win over the Eagles and the Eagles know that with Dallas' defense playing as well as it has lately, it won't be easy to move the chains with first down after first down. Instead, the Eagles have to have what has put them in position to win their division in the first place - the big play. DeSean Jackson has had a record setting year when it comes to long pass receptions and last year the Eagles burned the Cowboys down the field with long pass players early in the season as well. The Eagles have been running the ball much better over the last couple of months and that could make things much easier on the offense.  The Eagles defense has to make sure it defends QB Romo's shots down the field as the Cowboys have had their fair share of long TD passes as well.   Cowboys keys to victory...Dallas has allowed more than 20 points in a game just once in the their last nine and their pass rush has really kicked it up over that time-frame. The Eagles are a quick-strike team with several weapons who can hit for long, quick TDs. WR Jackson stretches the field deep and TE Celek is able to exploit the deep middle. If the Cowboys can sit in their two-deep zone and get after the passer with just four pass rushers and occasionally five, then they can make things very difficult for the Eagles offense. If they can't rush the passer, their secondary will be in trouble. The Eagles are going to bring plenty of blitzes and the Cowboys burly offensive line had better be prepared to deal with blitz packages that DC McDermott will throw at them. QB Romo has stepped his play up this December and continuing to make good decisions will be the key for the Cowboys.    Conclusion: The Eagles couldn't get Maclin, Jackson and Celek loose for big plays in their first meeting against the Cowboys but they will probably have success at some point this time around. The Cowboys have the running game that can control the tempo of the game while at the same time hit for big plays thanks to Felix Jones. The second time around it will be a higher scoring game but more of the same as it pertains to who wins.

Cowboys - 24 vs. Eagles - 20

CINCINNATI (10-5) VS. NY JETS (8-7)
January 3, 2010 NBC 7:30 PM CST Before anyone gets the notion that the Bengals are just going to roll over and die in this game, keep in mind that they realize that a victory over the Jets could mean the Jets are out of the playoffs and since the Jets feature the best rush defense in the NFL, it makes sense that the Bengals might want to knock them out of the playoffs. The main issue for the Bengals, however, is that they are worried that if they rest their starters, they won't stay sharp. Does Marvin Lewis really want to rest his starters and let the Jets slide into the playoffs with back-to-back win over teams who don't give a 100% effort to win? The Jets are as simple to analyze as they come.  They want to, and will, run the football behind an offensive line that produced two All-Pro players (Faneca and Mangold) and they’ll try and keep QB Sanchez from being in position to make bad decisions and turn the ball over. Defensively, the Jets don't get much pressure on the QB, but they are very good against the run and they happen to

VEGAS SAYS: NYJ -10 / 35.5
Score Predictions

have the best cover CB in the game today in CB Revis who will probably shut down WR Ochocinco.   The Bengals can run the ball against the Jets better than people think, but the real key to victory could rest with how QB Palmer plays and whether or not he can throw it away from Revis and still have success. The Jets offense is onedimensional and DC Zimmer will have his guys ready to stop the Jets running game but executing could be another story.

Colts - 14 Bills - 24   Saints - 17 Panthers - 28   Jaguars - 24 Browns - 14   Bears - 31 Lions - 16   Steelers - 23 Dolphins - 17   Niners - 24 Rams - 13

PREDICTION: Bengals - 17 vs. Jets - 14

NY GIANTS (8-7) VS. MINNESOTA (11-4)
January 3, 2009 Fox 12 PM CST Score Predictions Two teams who are in the toilet lately, but "toilet" is a Falcons - 21 relative term. The Giants Bucs - 24 were fighting for their   playoff lives and playing in Packers - 28 their last game at the Cardinals - 24 Meadowlands and they got   destroyed by an average Chiefs - 10 Carolina team. The Vikings Broncos - 35 were getting it handed to   them by the Bears before Ravens - 24 tying the game up with 30 Raiders - 6 points in the second half   only to lose in overtime. Redskins - 20  The Giants have nothing to Chargers - 23 play for but their respect   while the Vikings are trying Titans - 28 to right the ship. Seahawks - 17   The Giants were so bad last week that one New York newspaper actually had a headline that said their loss to the Panthers proved that their Super Bowl from the 2007 season was a fluke. Huh? 

VEGAS SAYS: MIN -9 / 47.5

The Giants will either mope out on the field and get the living crap kicked out of them or they will play with great intensity because they feel like they lost a measure of self-respect with the way they have played over their last 10 games. With RB Jacobs out, look for Ahmad Bradshaw to actually improve the rushing attack and I think Eli Manning can have some success down the field against the Vikings overrated secondary.   There are rumbles that the Vikings players want to be more aggressive on offense like they were in the second half of the Bears game but that is a bad idea moving forward. They might get away with it against the Giants, but putting the game in Brett Favre's hands has been a dangerous proposition over the last few years and I don't think getting away from the running game will serve the Vikings well in the playoffs. However, I could see the Vikings coming out and throwing the ball early and often since the Giants pass defense has been so poor. PREDICTION: Vikings - 21 vs. Giants - 20

What to Watch for in Today’s Bowl Games
The Ten Things to Watch for Today January 1, 2010
1. The Rose Bowl game is actually intriguing even without the annual visit from USC. The Ducks spread option attack against the smashmouth Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes haven’t been back since 1997 when David Boston caught the game winner against Arizona State. The Ducks haven’t seen Pasadena, as a Rose Bowl participant, since 1995. 2. Ohio State S Kurt Coleman vs. Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli is a tremendous matchup and one of the chess match-ups to keep an eye on this afternoon. 3. I love watching Ben Tate from Auburn, the “other” running back in the state of Alabama. Now that Mark Ingram has the Heisman, he’ll carry a ton of hype, but Tate is fun to watch and faces a Northwestern defense, he could shred for 125+ yards. 4. NFL types love Northwestern DE Corey Wootton and what’s not to love - 6’7”, 280 lbs and, well, one potentially gimpy knee. He’s the prototype 3-4 defensive end, but coming back from an ACL tear in the Alamo Bowl has been tough. 5. Penn State and LSU are facing each other for only the second time in their great histories in perhaps the most high profile non-BCS bowl game. Keep an eye on LSU S Chad Jones in this one, along with PSU LB Navorro Bowman, who’s healthy and teams well with Sean Lee. 6. Not many people talk about Northwestern QB Mike Ka(a, but he’s had a strong season - 2,898 yards passing, 12 TDs, 265 yards rushing and seven TDs. He won’t strike fear in the hearts of Auburn fans and players alike, but when he’s healthy he’s a maestro of this fast paced attack with a bunch of supposed nobodies at receiver. 7. West Virginia’s RB Noel Devine with a month to get healthy. 8. Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor with a month and a half to learn how to be a better QB 9. Cincinnati’s WR/KR/PR Mardy Gilyard pissed off at Brian Kelly and looking to take it out on the Gators. 10. This story is one you’ll hear for the next few weeks over and over and over again Bobby Bowden coaching his last game just a stone’s throw from my former house in Jacksonville. The sad thing, as it was for Bear Bryant - the Gator Bowl is fine, but it’s not the Orange Bowl or the grand stage he deserved. Bryant ended his career with a trip to the Liberty Bowl to face Illinois. He deserved the Sugar Bowl, but he just didn’t have that team. Bowden’s team isn’t even in that 1982 ‘Bama class. I just hope we don’t get a Woody Hayes ending - uh, on second thought, I wouldn’t bet that ever happening with the classy Bowden on the sidelines.

Capital One Bowl
2009 Schedule W, Akron 31-7 W, Syracuse 28-7 W, Temple 31-6 L, Iowa 10-21 W, @ Illinois 35-17 W, Eastern Illinois 52-3 W, Minnesota 20-0 W, @ Michigan 35-10 W, @ Northwestern 34-13 L, Ohio State 7-24 W, Indiana 31-20 W, @ Michigan State 42-14 Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #17 Daryll Clark RB #22 Evan Royster WR #2 Chaz Powell WR #5 Graham Zug WR #6 Derek Moye TE #10 Andrew Quarless LT #73 Dennis Landolt LG #50 DeOn’tae Pannell C #61 Stefan Wisniewski RG #77 Lou Eliades RT #79 Ako Poti Defense DE #5 Jerome Hayes DT #91 Jared Odrick DT #85 Ollie Ogbu DE #81 Jack Crawford LB #11 Navorro Bowman LB #45 Sean Lee LB #43 Josh Hull CB #1 A.J. Wallace S #18 Nick Sukay S #28 Drew Astorino CB #8 D’Anton Lynn

Jan. 1, 2010 - ABC 12 PM CST

Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3)
173.6 ypg - 38th 238.9 ypg - 40th 412.5 ypg - 36th 29.7 ppg - 41st 93.9 ypg - 10th 183.2 ypg - 19th 277.1 ypg - 8th 11.8 ppg - 4th Run Off. Pass Off. Total Off. Scoring Off. Run Def. Pass Def. Total Def. Scoring Def. 129.6 ypg - 84th 180.1 ypg - 99th 309.7 ypg - 108th 25.5 ppg - 74th 134.2 ypg - 44th 192.4 ypg - 29th 326.6 ypg - 28th 16.0 ppg - 12th

2009 Schedule W, Washington 31-23 W, Vanderbilt 23-9 W, ULL 31-3 W, @ Mississippi St. 30-26 W, @ Georgia 20-13 L, Florida 3-13 W, Auburn 31-10 W, Tulane 42-0 L, @ Alabama 15-24 W, La. Tech 24-16 L, @ Ole Miss 23-25 W, Arkansas 33-30 (OT) Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #9 Jordan Jefferson RB #34 Stephen Ridley FB #48 Thomas Parsons WR #1 Brandon LaFell WR #80 Terrance Toliver TE #18 Richard Dickson LT #70 Ciron Black LG #68 Josh Dworaczyk C #53 T-Bob Hebert RG #65 Lyle Hitt RT #78 Joseph Barksdale Defense DE #84 Rahim Alem DT #97 Al Woods DT #91 Charles Alexander DE #95 Pep Levingston LB #11 Kelvin Sheppard LB #56 Perry Riley LB #24 Harry Coleman CB #7 Patrick Peterson S #3 Chad Jones S #15 Brandon Taylor CB #29 Chris Hawkins

Keys to the Game
Ridley me this, Batman - LSU has suffered through an
injury plagued year, especially in the backfield. But, where there is inury, opportunity is presented and for Stephen Ridley that’s definitely the case. Late in the Arkansas game, Ridley got his chance to make plays when the Tigers desperately needed it. He had a couple of key catch-and-runs for first downs, putting LSU in position to kick the game tying field goal. With a month or more to prepare, the Tigers have to find a way to allow Ridley to impact this game. He has good speed to the edge, but good vision for cutback lanes, which will be important against a fast flow Penn State defense. But, more importantly, the LSU offensive line must find a way to get movement from guard to guard for Ridley, something that has been absent this year. However, that would mean...

O does not stand for Offense - ...blocking the coaches

selection for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Jared Odrick. The Tigers struggled blocking a bunch of average, middling players, much less a disruptive force like Odrick. The Penn State defensive tackle is a lot like Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska in that he can do more than just plug a gap inside. With his Scout’s Corner Scout’s Corner LB Navorro Bowman quickness, the Tigers can only hope to get a hat on him, but most FS Chad Jones importantly, keep a hat on him. Take him where he wants to go 6’1” 230 6’3” 225 and hope Ridley reads it properly. Good luck with that against He may want to be a pitcher in the The difference maker for the Penn State defense with apologies to Jared the Big Ten’s best. major leagues (thanks for signing him
Odrick up front...nasty disposition...runs exceptionally well...blitzes like a mother...tackles through ball carriers...also has the speed to run down ball carriers Astros or not), but has a wonderful future at FS...an explosive experience by the boatload this season. Graham Zug, Chaz playmaker...hitter...plays well in the Powell and Derek Moye have become reliable threats for QB alley...needs a bit of work playing the Daryll Clark. But, wait until they get a load of Patrick Peterson. middle, floating in the middle...tough

Corner’s on lockdown - Penn State’s receivers are gaining

His cover skills are tremendous and his physical nature will be a problem for the Penn State receivers. Peterson’s done it to the best in the SEC, these three are just added notches on his belt. Conclusion - The LSU speed on defense will limit RB Evan Royster and frustrate Daryll Clark. The defense wins this for LSU. Whenever LSU has had time to prepare under Les Miles, it’s awfully tough to beat. Jordan Jefferson will let it loose with 250 yds/2 TDs.

LSU - 23 vs. Penn State - 20

Rose Bowl
2009 Schedule W, Navy 31-27 L, USC 15-18 W, Toledo 38-0 W, Illinois 30-0 W, @ Indiana 33-14 W, Wisconsin 31-13 L, @ Purdue 18-26 W, Minnesota 38-7 W, NMSU 45-0 W, @ Penn State 24-7 W, Iowa 27-24 (OT) W, Michigan 21-10 Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #2 Terrelle Pryor RB #1 Dan ‘Boom’ Herron FB #44 Zach Boren WR #8 Devier Posey WR #12 Dane Sanzenbacher TE #86 Jake Ballard LT #64 Jim Cordle LG #65 Justin Boren C #50 Michael Brewster RG #70 Bryant Browning RT #76 J.B. Shugarts Defense DE #90 Thaddeus Gibson DT #84 Doug Worthington DT #92 Todd Denlinger DE #97 Cameron Heyward LB #36 Brian Rolle LB #51 Ross Homan LB #38 Austin Spitler CB #5 Chimdi Chekwa S #21 Anderson Russell S #4 Kurt Coleman CB # 10 Devon Torrance

Jan. 1, 2010 - ABC 3:30 PM CST Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2)
198.9 ypg - 19th 165.9 ypg - 106th 364.8 ypg - 71st 29.3 ppg - 47th 83.4 ypg - 5th 179.1 ypg - 17th 262.5 ypg - 5th 12.2 ppg - 5th Run Off. Pass Off. Total Off. Scoring Off. Run Def. Pass Def. Total Def. Scoring Def. 236.1 ypg - 6th 188.6 ypg - 91st 424.7 ypg - 25th 37.7 ppg - 7th 126.7 ypg - 39th 202.8 ypg - 37th 329.4 ypg - 32nd 23.6 ppg - 52nd

2009 Schedule L, @ Boise State 8-19 W, Purdue 38-36 W, Utah 31-24 W, Cal 42-3 W, Washington State 52-6 W, @ UCLA 24-10 W, @ Washington 43-19 W, USC 47-20 L, @ Stanford 42-51 W, Arizona State 44-21 W, @ Arizona 44-41 (OT) W, Oregon State 37-33 Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #8 Jeremiah Masoli RB #21 LaMichael James WR #10 D.J. Davis WR #80 Lavasier Tuinei WR #23 Jeff Maehl TE #83 Ed Dickson LT #69 Bo Thran LG #77 Carson York C #54 Jordan Holmes RG #79 Mark Asper RT #68 C.E. Kaiser Defense DE #39 Will Tukuafu DT #88 Brandon Bair DT #90 Blake Ferras DE #58 Kenny Rowe LB #35 Spencer Paysinger LB #55 Casey Matthews LB #11 Eddie Pleasant CB #3 Cliff Harris S #14 Javes Lewis S #2 TJ Ward CB #37 Talmadge Jackson

Keys to the Game
The Fifth Ward - One of the toughest areas in all of Houston
(where I reside) is the Fifth Ward. Things don’t come easy there for anyone. Well, when facing Oregon’s defense, running into FS T.J. Ward is a lot like that. Hard times. Ward’s presence on this defense was definitely felt through the first six games of the season as he missed with an ankle injury. But, with a month to get healthy and prepare, Ward should be a menace for the Buckeyes to deal with in Pasadena. Last year, he turned the Holiday Bowl on a dime with his hit on Ok. State QB Zac Robinson and it could happen here as well. Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor loves to get out of the pocket and scramble, but one shot from Ward and it could force him “back inside for the winter”. Ward’s ability to close on the line of scrimmage is hugely important against the Ohio State running backs ‘Boom’ Herron and Brandon Saine. Keep an eye on #2 Ward.

Sanzenbacher rolls right off the tongue - He’s caught

deep balls this year but he’s not a huge deep threat. He’s caught bubble screens and ran after the catch but he’s not a make-youmiss dynamo in space. But, Ohio State WR Dane Sanzenbacher is a guy who can have a massive impact on this game, especially Scout’s Corner Scout’s Corner DE Cameron Heyward catching the ball at the chains for first downs. The more times he WR Jeff Maehl can get open and get a first down, the more confident Pryor will 6’6” 287 6’5” 200 get. Oregon will give #12 open areas in the field and he’ll find Long, lean and lanky...competitive and What a specimen...the size, the quickness, the DNA...it’s all them. can go up and get it when he needs there...son of former NFL FB a Safety dance - After watching Oregon’s offense spin Oregon to...a next level deep threat...also he’s “Ironhead” Heyward...however, it’s guy who can work the middle as not all there...missing that next level State FS Lance Mitchell around like a top, I couldn’t help but tough for a taller receiver...runs away ‘it’ factor...has the size to be 3-4 DE think about Ohio State’s S Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell. from defensive backs...can catch quick or 4-3 DE or even 4-3 ‘3’ technique No position is as important as safety against this Oregon defense. game throws and make things happen Bite on the option and the option pass will kill you. Take the QB and he’ll flip it out to a RB on the option pitch. No one has a bigger burden to stop this Masoli-led spread attack than these two Conclusion - The more that I’ve thought about this Rose Bowl, the more excited I actually get. I hope that Oregon can jump out in front, because it’ll force Jimmy Sweatervest to open up the game plan. But I don’t think Ohio State can handle the entire Duck ‘O’ package.

Oregon - 31 vs. Ohio State - 28

In the Film Room
at the Rose Bowl

Oregon’s Zone Read Option
FS SS CB $B DE DT LB DT LB DE CB

24 21

8

Oregon’s “Zone Read Option” w/slot as Pitch man
Although the Zone read has been in vogue for the past eight to ten years, it’s really become fashionable since Vince Young utilized the “zone read” in the Texas Longhorns 2005 national championship season. Oregon’s Chip Kelly has taken the zone read concepts to a different level and that was evident in the de facto Pac-10 championship game against Oregon State. Throughout the game, the Ducks’ fine signal caller Jeremiah Masoli, alongside whippet quick RB LaMichael James, conducted the zone read to a T. Now, the concept of the zone read is quite easy - traditional zone concepts for the OL. The defensive end crashes, the QB pulls the ball. As you can see above, if the defensive end (in the blue dotted circle) crashes down the line on James (#21) as he takes a potential zone read handoff, Masoli pulls the ball and makes a bee line downfield where that DE had vacated, running into wide open space. Teams started taking Masoli away though when the defensive end “crashed” down the line by having the backside linebacker/nickel back stay home and wait for Masoli to run right back to him. So, Kelly, being a spread offense guru put in the wrinkle that you see above - the zone read with an option pitch to the slot wide receiver. The play starts as it always does and looks exactly like the traditional zone read. When the defensive end crashes, Masoli pulls the ball and starts downfield. As the nickel back/linebacker takes a dead run to Masoli, #24 Kenjon Barner “moonwalks” back into pitch relation with Masoli, something the nickel back/linebacker doesn’t see. Masoli flattens out a bit to make sure he has that relationship with Barner. When the backer darts to Masoli, the QB flips the ball to a wide open Barner. This play accounted for a first down every time the Ducks ran it against the Beavers. Ohio State has a tough challenge ahead, trying to stop the three prong attack of the Ducks zone read.

BCS Nat’l Champ.
2009 Schedule W, Virginia Tech 34-24 W, FIU 40-14 W, North Texas 53-7 W, Arkansas 35-7 W, @ Kentucky 38-20 W, @ Ole Miss 22-3 W, South Carolina 20-6 W, Tennessee 12-10 W, LSU 24-15 W, @ Miss. State 31-3 W, Chattanooga 45-0 W, @ Auburn 26-21 W, Florida (Atlanta) 32-13 Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #12 Greg McElroy RB #22 Mark Ingram TE/FB #85 Preston Dial TE #84 Colin Peek WR #8 Julio Jones WR #4 Marquis Maze LT #77 James Carpenter LG #78 Mike Johnson C #73 William Vlachos RG #75 Barrett Innes RT #79 Drew Davis Defense DE #97 Lorenzo Washington NT #62 Terrence Cody DE #95 Brandon Deaderick LB #13 Cory Reamer LB #25 Rolando McClain LB #32 Eryk Anders LB #35 Nico Johnson CB #28 Javier Arenas S #4 Mark Barron S #27 Justin Woodall CB #3 Kareem Jackson

Jan. 7, 2010 - ABC 7 PM CST

Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0)
215.9 ypg - 12th 197.9 ypg - 84th 413.8 ypg - 35th 31.7 ppg - 26th 77.9 ypg - 2nd 163.8 ypg - 7th 241.7 ypg - 2nd 11.0 ppg - 1st Run Off. Pass Off. Total Off. Scoring Off. Run Def. Pass Def. Total Def. Scoring Def. 152.7 ypg - 55th 279.7 ypg - 14th 432.4 ypg - 20th 40.7 ppg - 3rd 62.2 ypg - 1st 188.9 ypg - 23rd 251.1 ypg - 3rd 15.2 ppg - 8th

2009 Schedule W, ULM 59-20 W, @ Wyoming 41-10 W, Texas Tech 34-24 W, UTEP 64-7 W, Colorado 38-14 W, Oklahoma 16-13 W, @ Missouri 41-7 W, @ Ok. State 41-14 W, UCF 35-3 W, @ Baylor 47-14 W, Kansas 51-20 W, @ Texas A&M 49-39 W, Nebraska (Arl.) 13-12 Projected Starting Lineups Offense QB #12 Colt McCoy RB #23 Tre Newton WR #8 Jordan Shipley WR #11 James Kirkendoll WR #9 Malcolm Williams TE #4 Dan Buckner LT #74 Adam Ulatoski LG #52 Charlie Tanner C #71 Chris Hall RG #63 Michael Huey RT #64 Kyle Hix Defense DE #2 Sergio Kindle DT #91 Kheeston Randall DT #33 Lamarr Houston DE #81 Sam Acho LB #18 Emmanuel Acho LB #38 Roddrick Muckelroy LB #1 Keenan Robinson CB #3 Curtis Brown S #21 Blake Gideon S #12 Earl Thomas CB #4 Aaron Williams

Keys to the Game
Suh, Cody...same thing, right? - Uh, no, not in the
slightest, but it truly doesn’t matter because the damage done by Suh in the Big 12 championship game brought to light the biggest weakness this Texas team has - guard to guard on the offensive line. Charlie Tanner, Chris Hall and Michael Huey were turned around and upside down by Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and many feel that Terrence “Mount” Cody will do the same. I’m not as concerned about Cody because he’ll let you tie him up with one blocker and he’s not on the field but for 60% of the game. But, regardless of who plays at that defensive tackle/nose tackle position, the Texas trio inside must find a way to keep Cody et. al from disrupting what the Horns can do inside. One thing the offensive staff can do is run some more zone read and try to use the misdirection to stunt the impact the Alabama interior can have on this game. Let me repeat, Suh isn’t Cody, but the Texas threesome is still, well, you know the rest.

When his best is needed - Texas LB Roddrick Muckelroy
retur ned to Texa s for this. One shot at the national championship. An even bigger shot at the Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Muckelroy has improved his game throughout the season and has been so much more fundamentally sound in 2009. But, fundamentals really mean nothing if he, and the Texas defense, can’t tackle Ingram. And, that’s rub, Texas is going to know where Alabama is and vice versa, but can Texas physically stop Ingram? Most of that is on #38 in the middle.

As physical a receiver as there is in college football...hasn’t proven that he’s highly successful in the middle of the field where he’ll need to be at the next level...runs well after the catch...deep threat...good concentration on deep throws..tough

WR Julio Jones 6’4” 215

Scout’s Corner

We have one, you don’t - Although Texas has made due...I
would say so with a 13-0 season, there have been times when it has missed TE Blaine Irby, out since early 2008 with an injury. But, as the season developed, the Alabama offense started utilizing its TE Colin Peek. Not only has Peek been more utilized, he’s been a goto money maker, so to speak, for QB Greg McElroy in the red zone. He can truly hurt the Longhorn LB in coverage and he may demand a safety to cover him. Keep an eye on #84 Peek.

Soon to be a rich man...great ball skills...breaks on the ball extremely well...good hands for a DB, could even be a WR with his hands...matches cuts and doesn’t have to clutch and grab to stay with receivers...can play man or zone well

CB Aaron Williams 6’1” 190

Scout’s Corner

Conclusion - I’d like to think the BCS got this one right with two of the most storied college football programs of all-time. If I
hear about 2005 any more, though, I’m going to be ill. This is a different Texas team, although it still does rely heavily on its AllAmerican signal caller Colt McCoy. More importantly, the Longhorns are facing a defense better than any one ‘D’ that it has faced this season. Alabama’s quickness/strength up front keeps LB Rolando McClain clean, while the secondary cleans up any mistakes. It won’t be a pretty win, but Alabama will get a defensive score and stay out in front until having to hold off Colt in the 4th quarter.

Alabama - 23 vs. Texas - 17

Harris’ End-of-season
Offensive All-American Team
QB - Case Keenum, Houston - The junior from Abilene has been superb this season leading the Cougars to a 10-3 record and a berth in the CUSA championship game. He’s thrown for 5,410 yards, 43 TDs and only 9 interceptions, while rushing for 4 TDs RB - Mark Ingram, Alabama - The Trophy took over for last year’s All-SEC first teamer Glen Coffee and made people forget Coffee existed. He’s rushed for 1,542 yards and 15 TDs, while accumulating 322 yards and 3 TDs through the air. He had six 100 yard games. RB - Toby Gerhart, Stanford - What Gerhart did for the Cardinal this season goes above making an All-American team. He rushed for 1,736 yards and 26 TDs to lead the nation in touchdowns. But, most importantly, he led the Cardinal to eight wins and a bowl. Wow! WR - Golden Tate, Notre Dame - Many going into the season thought that Tate’s teammate was the best receiver in the nation (count me in on that). But, Tate shone in Michael Floyd’s absence - 93 receptions, 1,496 yards and 15 TDs, second in the nation. WR - Jordan Shipley, Texas - All Shipley did in his 6th and final season was shatter nearly every reception record at UT. He had 106 receptions for 1,363 yards and 11 TDs. He holds the game (15) and season (106) records for catches and is two off the career best. WR - Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati - The senior out of Florida may have been relatively unknown going into this season, but the Big East knew all about him. The first team AllBig East selection had 80 catches for 1,150 yards and 11 TDs (3 return TDs as well). T - Bryan Bulaga, Iowa - The 1st team All-Big 10 selection missed a few games earlier in the season, but once back, the Iowa offense found success running behind him the rest of the way. He’s a bona fide 1st rounder and helped lead Iowa to 10 wins and the Orange Bowl G - Mike Johnson, Alabama - The Tide offense was a lot of Mark Ingram, sprinkled in with a little Trent Richardson, which meant a lot of running behind Johnson, a first team All-SEC selection. Terrence Cody said he’s the best he faced this year - I believe it. C - Maurkice Pouncey, Florida - The trigger man for the Gator offense has been a three year starter and first team All-SEC selection this season. He handles all of the offensive calls for the offensive line and helped lead the Gators to 12 wins and the SEC East title. G - Cord Howard, Georgia Tech - The Jackets offense was 2nd in the nation in rushing utilizing Paul Johnson’s option attack and Howard was the leader up front for this offensive line. A masher with a nasty disposition, Howard was a 1st-team All ACC pick. T - Marcus Cannon, TCU - The Horned Frogs offense ran throughout the season behind right tackle Cannon, a first-time All-MWC selection. TCU was fifth in the nation in rushing and fourth in total offense due to the work of Cannon, a road grader.

Harris’ End-of-season
Defensive All-American Team
DE - Jerry Hughes, TCU - Hughes was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and also received the Ted Hendricks Award for being the top defensive end in the nation. 11.5 sacks and 15 TFLs did the trick. DT - Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska - The unquestioned player of the year on the defensive side of the ball. Suh led Nebraska with 82 tackles, had 12 sacks, 19.5 TFLs, 10 PBUs, forced one fumble, had 21 QB hurries and an interception. Oh yeah, he was 4th in the Heisman. DT - Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma - After watching McCoy in the opener against BYU, he made a believer out of me. Not that I was skeptical, but his performance that night opened everyone’s eyes. McCoy was first team All Big 12 and finished with 14.5 TFLs. DE - Derrick Morgan, Ga. Tech - The ACC Defensive Player of the Year isn’t as well known as his defensive line compadres, but he’s quite deserving of his spot on this team. A sure-fire first round pick, Morgan was sixth in the nation with 12.5 sacks on the season. DE/LB - Von Miller, Texas A&M - The Aggie defense struggled throughout the year, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Miller, arguably the nation’s best pass rushing linebacker. He led the nation in sacks with 17 and 21 tackles for a loss in his junior campaign. LB - Pat Angerer, Iowa - The defensive leader for the 10-2 Orange Bowl-bound Hawkeyes, Angerer finished the season with 135 tackles (5th in the nation) and four tackles for a loss and a sack. The 1st team All-Big 10 selection finished his career with 248 tackles. LB - Rolando McClain, Alabama - The Butkus and Lambert award recipient is arguably the best defensive player in the SEC. He finished the season with 101 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks for the SEC champion Crimson Tide. CB - Joe Haden, Florida - Arguably the best season any University of Florida defensive back has ever had. Haden dominated the corner in a way no one else did this season. He finished the season with 4 picks and most teams decided to throw away from him. S - Eric Berry, Tennessee - The Vols were off the national radar for much of the season, but Berry still had a tremendous season in Knoxville. Berry finished the season with 83 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss and two interceptions for the Chick-fil-A Bowl bound Vols. S - Earl Thomas, Texas - If not for Ndamukong Suh, Thomas would’ve been the Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Thomas was tied for second in the nation in interceptions with eight, including two picks sixes. He also recorded 59 tackles and 4.5 TFLs. CB - Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State - One of the best pure cover guys in the nation, Cox forced teams to think long and hard about throwing in his direction. He finished the season with four picks and first team All-Big 12 honors.

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