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  1. 23 likes
    Cowboys vence a los Gigantes para abrir la temporada de la NFLHC T-Rod sólido. Abraham, defensa dominante como vaqueros explosión gigantes desgraciados 28-6.
  2. 23 likes
    Playing Minnesota's secondary is like hanging with a girl and you have this feeling like you're definitely gonna get some tonight and then like 10 minutes into the date she's already taking your pants off and just going to town, and then expects nothing in return and just leaves in the morning. When you walk out to the kitchen she's made coffee for you and a note that just says "let's do this again sometime"
  3. 17 likes
    Raheem can catch, throw, and run, is there anything he can not do? Wow – what an opening week to the NFLHC season. We had clutch overtime plays from Nick Hall and Todd Lester to lead their respective teams to victories. Soluna deployed trick plays in a thrashing of the Chiefs, the Chargers shocked everyone, and the Jets showed the league they won’t settle for just appearing in Super Bowls. The committee of Smackems was able to open up the season with a tidy 11-4 record, 12-4 if you include Jumanji’s correct Dolphin prediction. Week 2’s Smackems’ Game of the Week is the Eagles and their stout defense taking on the Panthers and their high-flying offense. This game offers such a stark contrast in styles that it really should be a beauty to watch. Once again, the winner will be bolded in white. On to the picks! Miami Dolphins (1-0) at New England Patriots (0-1) The Patriots are coming off an embarrassing Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Unfortunately for them, their competition can only get tougher from there. Thursday night, they will be taking on the 1-0 Dolphins. Miami will look to repeat last week's dominant performance, as they destroyed the Buffalo Bills by a score of 36-7. Already firing on all cylinders, Brian Brown and company should have the edge. While the Patriots have the potential to pull an upset, there are just too many question marks surrounding their defense after last week's abysmal showing. The Dolphins take this one. courtesy of Jumanji New York Jets (1-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-1) – The Jets opened up the season with a bang by drubbing the Ravens 31-14. The score was never close as Wegert lead the Jets to a 31-0 lead before Baltimore added points in garbage time. Buffalo traveled to Miami and was not able to get pressure with their star-studded defensive line in a 36-7 loss to the Dolphins. I think the Jets are the best team in the division, I think week one’s decimation of a really good Baltimore defense shows that to be true in the early going. Buffalo has a shot if their defensive line can put pressure on Wegert and force him to make mistakes, I think they will get pressure but I do not think it will be enough. I think the Jets take this one in Buffalo. Cleveland Browns (0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1) The Browns opened up the season with a chance to beat Tennessee on a last-second FG that sailed wide left. The Saints on the other hand were never in it as Christian Skaggs tore apart their questionable secondary 48-21 in Charlotte. The game is an interesting one to choose, I think looking at it quickly I would go New Orleans, however; if I look a little more closely at Cleveland’s roster I think they have enough pieces to exploit the weaknesses in the Saints secondary. I think Tai, Marconi, and Mitchell provide just enough firepower to give Cleveland a puncher’s chance of scoring with New Orleans – I think Sean Jenkins comes back this week with a monster game, but I am picking Cleveland in the upset. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1) The Bengals were able to travel to Atlanta and get the upset in week 1, but it did not come the way anyone expected it to come. The defense, highly considered the weakest part of the Bengals, was able to bend but not break and hold Atlanta to only 13 points. King did not have a spectacular opener with all his new toys, only having 209 yards and 2 picks to go along with his 2 TDs. The Bengals have a lot of balance, but I believe that Baltimore’s defense is one of the better units in the league, and they will be looking to bounce back from an awful performance in week 1. I think King is going to struggle, and I think the Ravens should be able to put enough points on the board to win their home opener. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) The most talked about game from week 1 has to be the Jaguars drubbing of the Chiefs, where Raheem Robinson, and all his trick play glory, rushed and passed for a Touchdown to go with his 4 catches. The Steelers got a nice victory over Tampa, where Davenport had a super-efficient game through the air completing ~78% of his passes. I love the intrigue this game brings, Davenport has been on fire ever since panther gave him the reins last season, he adds a dynamic level to the Steelers offense, but Soluna is putting together a team in Jacksonville that’s going to be so difficult to plan against every week. He has trick plays in the bag now, and he’s going to be able to pull It out when teams aren’t expecting it especially with Josh McDaniels as his OC. I think Pittsburgh is moving in the right direction, but I think Jacksonville is moving there more quickly Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-0) The Packers had a nice opening week win over Arizona and inspiral has to be excited about the play of both the defense and the offensive line. However, this week they face a significantly tougher challenge in the Colts, who lost an OT heartbreaker to the Raiders. I think the Colts are considered by many to be one of the favorites to potentially represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, especially if they can get their running game going. Peaks didn’t have a great game last week, but Heard was able to break off a big run for a touchdown to alleviate some of the pressure off of Aaron Shea. I still really like the Colts and I think they will go into Green Bay and get the victory here. The Packers are on an upswing, but I don’t think they are ready to take down championship caliber teams yet. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) at Tennessee Titans (1-0) The Chargers opened up the season with a surprising win over the Patriots while the Titans were able to hold on with a victory over Cleveland. The Chargers used a really strong 4th quarter from Will Thompson to get the upset, I think Thompson helps the Chargers win now but I think they are still at a talent disadvantage. I also think Tennessee is a better team than last year’s record indicates with strong contributors at key positions on offense and young talent on defense. I like the Woods and Jones combo on the line – I think it’s too much for the Chargers to overcome… *Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0) It was a toss-up between this game and the 9ers/Broncos game for the Smackems’ Game of the Week, but I went with this one. The Eagles struggled on offense in week 1, but their defense, specifically their secondary gave the Redskins fits all game forcing Fields to throw 3 interceptions. In fact, the only touchdown scored by the Skins came on a kickoff return for a TD in the 3rd quarter. It’s no secret that the Panthers decimated the Saints secondary, Skaggs was able to toss a neat 6 TDs in their week 1 victory. The Panthers will be able to score, that should be a given, so I think the key to this game is going to be how the Eagles offense responds? I think the Eagles end the season with their offense clicking, but I think the Panthers take this game. Their offense is already firing on all-cylinders and their defense played pretty well against a potent Saints offense. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) at Chicago Bears (0-1) Both of these teams struggled to put points in the board in their week 1 losses. Chicago can point directly at their abysmal running effort as the main culprit in their shutout, Honeycutt was only able to muster 14 yards on 11 carries and that’s just not going to get it done. Atlanta seemed to be able to move the ball against Cincinnati but would too often settle for FG attempts as they got into Bengal territory. I think Atlanta looked like they were a little closer to figuring it out during the 1st week, they were able to move the ball, they had good rushing numbers, I will take them in a road win. Houston Texans (1-0) at Detroit Lions (1-0) Detroit was able to pummel the helpless Vikings in a game where Rob LeCount had little issue getting the ball out to his receivers. One potentially concerning takeaway from their week 1 victory is that James Otero was never able to get going and barely broke 2 YPC on 17 carries, that’s not going to get it done long term. The Texans came out of the gate and made a defensive statement as I discussed in the Chicago preview, they held Honeycutt to around 1 YPC and were able to snag 2 Brooksheer passes as well. Leshoure had a nice game, but the question is how will he do when one of the best CBs in the league is blanketing his best target? The Houston rushing attack didn’t perform well enough to give me confidence that Houston can steal this one, I’m going Detroit here. Oakland Raiders (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) Nick Hall and the Raiders had a clutch performance in their victory over the Colts. Hall looked as good as always and rookie defensive end Shah Vereen came in right away and got a sack in his first action. As good, as Oakland was last year they really struggled to get after the quarterback, so if Vereen is able to consistently get pressure on the QB watch out. By now, everyone knows that Kansas City lost to trick-plays, but I think there’s some deeper issues here. Rodgers had an okay game, but how much of that was because of the defensive game plan? They had issues stopping the run and pass – I think they’ll get it figured out eventually but trying to get it turned around against one of the best teams in the league is not ideal. I’m taking Oakland. Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Washington Redskins (0-1) Dallas looked great in their opening victory over the Giants; Vaughan Abraham thrashed the Giant defense for over 120 yards and ~6 YPC. The Skins really struggled on offense, and as of today it’s uncertain how healthy Javier Fields will be going into this game, if he plays at all. Both defenses played well in their opening games, but with the uncertainty surrounding Fields’ status for the game I am going to take Dallas to open up the season 2-0. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) at Minnesota Vikings (0-1) I’m struggling to find any positives for the Vikings after their week 1 loss. Their running game looked bad, Vardell had an inefficient game through the air, and their defense and special teams were outclassed by the Lions. Tampa at least is able to hold their hat on Heiden and Richard Wilson’s performance against Pittsburgh, both were able to play well in an otherwise fairly lopsided affair. I’m taking Tampa in this one – they have more talent. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1) Even though Seattle lost the opener to Denver, Coach Tuscan has to be proud of the way the defense played in that game. They held the Broncos to 15 points and did a good job of making life difficult for new QB Todd Jennings and RB J.B. Blacknall. There is a lot of talent on this offense, so I have no doubt that they will get that side of the ball figured out. Arizona really struggled to find any traction in their loss at Green Bay, they were inefficient in the running game and that made it difficult for Kareem to find any rhythm in the passing game. Based on the way Seattle looked in week 1 I think they make strides on the offensive side of the ball and take the victory. New York Giants (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (0-1) The Rams took the defending Super Bowl champs to overtime, they have to be pleased with the effort that their team was able to put forth in that game. They roll with backup Jeremy Henry for one more week; Henry had a pretty solid outing in week 1, but threw a costly pick that allowed San Fran to kick a game tying FG. The Giants have been trying to figure out their offense since the beginning of the preseason and still haven’t hit on a game plan that allows them to effectively score points. I think the Rams win this one and get to 1-1 with starter Darrell Murphy coming back next week. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Denver Broncos (1-0) This is another potentially great primetime game to match our awesome slate of primetime games from week 1. By now it’s no secret that I really love the Broncos, I think by the end of the year they are going to be in the discussion as one of the best teams in the league. Their defense is rock solid and I am betting that Bingo figures out the best way to utilize both his new QB and RB. They held one of the best WRs Gary Faneca to a total of 33 yards on 3 catches, and Charles Johnson exploded with 3 sacks. The 49ers played a great game in their opener against the Rams, the offense looked in mid-season form and the defense played opportunistic football that led them to an overtime victory. I like Lester’s ability to move around in this game, it should really help him when the Broncos send a blitz and give his bevy of speedsters a chance to get open. In an early season game, I’m definitely favoring San Francisco. Week 1 record – 11-4 Overall record – 11-4 Jumanji’s Week 1 record – 1-0 Jumanji’s Overall record – 1-0
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    Jason Johnson looked good in week 1 after a rough 2019 season The major jumps and drops after Week 1 games are so fun for the Power Rankings to reconsider. Some games were illuminating, other more confirming. Either way, it's great to have the NFLHC back again! Remember, if you don't like where you are in these rankings...play better! 1. San Francisco 49ers à The Champs roll on in a tight one with the Murph-less Rams. Offense is good, defense looked a little shaky. Strength-on-strength MNF matchup with Denver in week 2. 2. Oakland Raiders à Raiders hold on to #2 with an OT victory over the Colts in Oakland. Nick Hall was clutch, Rex Walsh is making folks forget about Marvin White, but the D got ripped a couple times. 3. New York Jets +1 Jets bossed the Ravens, thus the bump up. Wegert looked like he was back in college, and Paul Howell is still one of the most lopsided trade pieces in the history of the game. 4. Philadelphia Eagles -1 Got the win, but didn’t look super convincing doing it. The drop in spots is mostly due to the Jets looking REAL good, less the Eagles looking suspicious. But, it does highlight the lack of growth on the offensive end. 5. Detroit Lions à Not much more to say about the win over the hapless Vikes: LeCount was awesome throwing against 3rd graders. 6. Carolina Panthers +2 Holy Skaggs-to-Henry meatiness! Lined up against the Saints secondary, this was completely unfair from the jump. Skaggs don’t hurt ‘em. 7. Indianapolis Colts -1 Sorry to have to drop them at all. Went into the Black Hole and almost came out with a win. Colts are gonna be good, but will look over their shoulder all season at the… 8. Jacksonville Jaguars +2 Wow. Raheem the Dream does it all. Bonus points to Soluna for winning with Trick Plays. In the previous Power Rankings I highlighted Wade (INT) and Haywood (FF, FR, 6 tkls). 9. Los Angeles Rams à I’m gonna leave them here for playing San Fran really tough on the road without Murphy. Rams could have a really nice season. 10. Denver Broncos +3 The D looked super good, the offense less so. I’m giving us a bump for the road win, and the decent efficiency numbers in the revamped run game. Big game on Monday coming up… 11. Seattle Seahawks +2 Little bump for the Hawks despite the OT loss. That D is really good, but Jarius is going to need to get on the same page as his WRs soon. Running game isn’t gonna help much. 12. Miami Dolphins +7 Huge win for the Dolphins (even though the Bills are a mess). Smackems is gonna be an upgrade on the main headset, and Brian Brown looks like he wants some hardware back. 13. Kansas City Chiefs -6 This is actually being kind to the Chiefs after giving up 41 to the Jags. Rodgers didn’t look great, and the revamped DLine looked…outmatched. Long way back for the Arrowheads. 14. Green Bay Packers +6 Nice start for the Pack…JJ-to-Nom is unstoppable, and the D looks improved. NFC North is gonna be DET/GB, then the rest… 15. Washington Redskins* (not a real team name) à Keeping them at #15 due to playing the Eagles tough in Philly. Fields throwing 3 picks was bad, the Defense holding AT & Co. down is good. 16. Houston Texans +7 Pretty solid bump for the Texans for two main reasons: shutouts are awesome, and Leshoure’s first go was a success. He’s only gonna get better, and the Defense has some real horses. 17. New England Patriots -6 Not a good look losing to the Chargers—this should be a bigger drop. But it was on the road and perhaps they’re working out the game plan still. I KINDA have faith they’ll figure it out. 18. Pittsburgh Steelers +4 Should be higher after a big win. Davenport continues his unbelievable winning percentage as a starter, but the big surprise was the defense playing well. If Henson really gets going, watch out. Likely AFCN faves right now. 19. Dallas Cowboys +10 Very nice throwback win for the ‘Boys…watching Abraham go off for 120+ and a score is the real answer to the surprisingly bad 2019 effort. T-Rod looked like a solid starter in the NFLHC and that should be enough. 20. Cincinnati Bengals +8 Good road win for the KittyKats. Joel King played fine and the running game was passable. The defense definitely stepped up and finished off the game for Danger’s Dudes. Bengals have the talent, need consistency and chemistry to continue. 21. Los Angeles Chargers +11 Ayy! Way to go Chargers! The reason for the big bump: they’re resigned to a season of Will Thompson and that’s the right answer. Still a lot of holes, but hey, can’t argue with a season-opening win over a playoff team. 22. Tennessee Titans +4 Nice to have the monkey off the back, eh Titans? Congrats, even if it came on a missed Cleveland FG. Kevin Williams is the man, but they’ll need more from the run game to go with the defensive effort against the Browns. Titans could get torched by really good passing offenses, but if they control the ball, they should be a 7-9 win team, possibly more. 23. Atlanta Falcons -5 After all that bluster and hype in the off-season, that was sure a dud from the Falcons. The stat lines weren’t nearly as bad as the whole package, but when you lose at home to the Bengals, you drop hard. Pick it up, Atlanta. 24. New York Giants -10 Ugh, no other way to put it. Even the vaunted Defense from 2019 looked like a wet noodle, as Vaughan Abraham had a sweet day. Stanford is clearly not the answer, and OJ Carano (god bless thee, Golden Gopher) is another year older and step slower. Giants are looking at a 6 win ceiling unless they change things up in a hurry. 25. Chicago Bears -8 Speaking of yuck, getting shut out is one thing. Getting blanked by the Texans is an entirely different matter: it’s not like anyone is going to confuse Houston ’20 with the 2019 Giants. Chicago has no running game, putting it all on Brooksheer’s shoulders. And that proved to be a faulty strategy. 26. Baltimore Ravens -10 I couldn’t decide how to rate this performance for the Ravens because I think the Jets are actually just really good. But: the Ravens bread and butter is defense, and they gave up 31 points. Moussa Goode may prove to be a quality back, but he isn’t right now. Why not wave the white flag now and put Fisher in? 27. Cleveland Browns -6 Ryan Clark’s backups won all four preseason games. That’s about it. When the games mattered, Cleveland could only muster 17 points in Nashville. I still think the Browns could make it interesting in the North, because anybody can. But looking like another long season by Lake Erie. 28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 Possibly the most disappointing performance of week 1. Yes, it was on the road, and yes the Steelers have some serious momentum. But the Bucs put up essentially no effort in a lazy 38-17 loss. 38!!! Frank Williams is not gonna be happy there forever. Heiden had a solid game, but not much on the scoreboard to show for it. 29. Arizona Cardinals -5 Still a long ways to go, Cards. If you had been ripped 38-13 by the, say, Raiders, I would have been more forgiving. But the Packers took you behind the woodshed and showed you what it really means to build a team in a hurry. Jarius didn’t play that well, but I bet Ted wished he were getting the play calls instead of Kareem. 30. New Orleans Saints -5 Yikes. Devereaux fought back gamely, but where the hell was Sean Jenkins? He gets the “El Stinko” of the week for not even making the stat sheet. We knew the D was gonna be bad, but 456 and 6 touches for Skaggs? P-U. 31. Buffalo Bills -1 I’m not really sure what to say to Bills fans today. There was a brief window last season where your poo didn’t stink and the D-Line was everything. Then you missed the playoffs, and had a rough off-season. Then the puke job in Miami. Oof. 32. Minnesota Vikings -1 Vikings have the talent to win 4 games this year. But won’t.
  5. 13 likes
    Editor's Note: Ohio is next. If you are a MAC team and have a specific player you'd like one of these articles written about, let me know here or in my inbox. Otherwise I'll choose. The article after Ohio will be from Miami OH unless I have another request. Haywood after breaking up a crucial 3rd down pass in the 2019 MAC Championship. A 1993 Toyota Camry is rarely called beautiful. In fact, it's rarely worth calling one a car anymore. But as Adam Haywood sits on its hood, he pats it with such pride you would think it just won a Best In Show ribbon. "I call her Gloria," he says. And then he does it. He calls her "beautiful." When you start her up, Gloria sputters and coughs like she has the nastiest cold you've ever seen. "Give her a minute," Haywood tells me, although he seems to be assuring himself. When he's satisfied that she's still alive, he points to the dash and gives a knowing chuckle. "two hundred thousand, three hundred and twelve miles. I've only had her for about 25,000 of those, but it feels like longer." Why the hell have I asked to examine a college football player's clunker? The answer to that question is tricky. You see, I don't care about the car; as reliable as ol' Gloria probably is- and Haywood has told me at least three times that she's "as steady as they come"- I am not here to learn about her. I'm here to learn about Haywood. A big part of who Haywood is lies in the metal frame of Gloria. In fact, at one point, every part of Haywood lay within. Gloria was more than a college car to Haywood. At one point, she had been his lifeline and his shelter. That 1993 Toyota Camry, with the big dent in the wheel well and the side mirror that was duct taped on, had once been home to a homeless Adam Haywood. When he had nowhere else to turn, he had Gloria. She's been the only constant in his life ever since. Haywood is known for his trash talk before each play. "I want to own real estate in every receiver's head," he explains. Haywood isn't one to make excuses. He owns up to everything that's happened to him with a ferocity usually reserved for a 1990s rapper. He revels in his past, even when many tell him to forget it. "It's part of who I am," he explains. "I'm a dog now because I was a pup who grew up. And I wouldn't be where I am today without life giving me its best shot." Despite his obvious athletic ability, Haywood didn't play football until he reached the 10th grade. He was too engrossed in other pursuits- at one time, he wanted to be a soccer star. Then he got into basketball. Then he got kicked off the basketball team for smoking cigarettes in the locker room. "It was my high school basketball coach who got me to play football. Not because I wanted to at the time, though. Just because he wouldn't let me play basketball no more. I hated him for it at first, but looking back... couldn't have been better for me." Haywood stepped on the field as a raw but talented player. In his sophomore year he was a major contributor to Brookhaven's semifinal run. They ran a Tampa 2 defense in which Haywood thrived. In the quarterfinal game he lead Brookhaven to a 59-35 win behind an Ohio single game record 5 interceptions. He continued to explode onto the scene, being listed among all major recruiting sites in the Top 100 and garnering interest from schools all throughout the Midwest. It was the spring of his junior year when Gloria entered his life. "I bought her with the money I earned bagging groceries," Haywood explains. "I hadn't had a car before that. Usually I rode my bike to school, or my grandma would drop me off. But she died that spring, so I knew I had to get myself a ride." His maternal grandmother, Loretta Kingston, was the woman who raised him. His mother died when he was just six years old, and his father was never around. "She was my saving grace. She was the only one who looked out for me. When she died, the only thing that kept me going was knowing I needed to make her proud." So he bought Gloria. The original intent was for it to get him to and from both school and work, and nothing more. But being a full time student, he couldn't devote enough time to his job to keep his grandmother's apartment, and he was evicted two months later. "I didn't tell nobody about it." Haywood's ferocity returns as he explains those months. "I'd shower in the locker room at school in the mornings before anyone got there, and at night, I'd drive to a park and camp out there. Usually, I ate only the school lunch and whatever I could afford during my lunch break at work. It wasn't the best times, but I got through it." Haywood stresses the idea of 'getting through it' throughout the course of our meeting. It seems to be his mantra. Just get through it, and everything will be alright on the other side. Haywood slept in his car from April of his junior year of high school until December of his senior year, when it got so cold he finally broke down and asked for help. "I didn't think I needed anyone at that point. My grandma had been my caretaker, and when she was gone, I thought I could get by on my own. And I did, for awhile. When my friends got suspicious, I played it cool and told them not to worry. I wasn't worried. Or at least I didn't think I was. I didn't realize how lonely and helpless I was until it got cold." His high school offensive coordinator and math teacher, Dee Fisher, was the man he went to for help. Fisher remembers the night well. "I woke up to a knock on my door at about midnight. School was just letting out for the Thanksgiving holiday, and football season was over, so I hadn't seen Adam in about a week. But there he was, a hoodie drawn tightly around his face, standing on my porch. I didn't know what was happening at first. We knew he'd been struggling, but we had no clue he was homeless. He was good about sneaking around and hiding it, I guess. But there was no doubt in my mind that we had to take him in for good when I saw him there. So from that night until he left for college, he stayed with us." Fisher became a surrogate father to Haywood over that next spring. When Haywood struggled in school, Fisher tutored him. When Haywood debated where to play ball, Fisher was there with counsel. "Coach Fisher helped me out a lot," Haywood admits with a shrug. "He's my guy. Only person I would die for, and that's a fact." Eventually, Signing Day rolled around and Haywood made his decision. Despite interest from much larger schools and being in Ohio State's backyard, Haywood decided to make the trek two hours north to Toledo to play for Coach Deathcpo. When asked about his decision by the local news station after his signing, Haywood shrugged. "I want to go somewhere and be the best ever. So I'm going to Toledo. I'm gonna start from day 1, and I'm gonna ball out from day 1. Watch me." Haywood celebrating an INT he returned for a TD. He has 3 pick 6s in just 2 years starting. While it seemed crazy, Haywood backed his words up by dominating as a freshman during summer camp. Although he was originally slated to only be the fourth corner on the team, he blew away his coaches with his natural ability even as he still was learning the intricacies of a college defense. "We recruited a guy who was one of the best zone corners in high school, and then asked him to play man coverage right out of the gate," Deathcpo explained. "The kid is a phenom." As he lays on the hood of his car now, hands behind his head and eyes closed, he smiles. "I can do it all," he says confidently. "I may look like a zone guy, but I ain't never played a down of zone coverage since I got here [to Toledo]. And that's a fact." Haywood took no time becoming the darling of Toledo's defense. As a true freshman, lining up against the best receivers on each team the Rockets faced, Haywood recorded 6 INTs. Whenever he went anywhere on campus, he wore a hoodie with the drawstrings pulled tight so that he wouldn't be pestered by giddy fans. He spent hours upon hours in the film room, dissecting tape with his position coach, and the rest of the time he spent in his dorm, playing NBA 2k19 and avoiding the spotlight. The same thing happened in 2019. 6 more interceptions, and still more recognition. Receivers recount tales of his legendary trash-talk. Kenneth Harrison, the Miami Redhawks star receiver, shudders as he thinks back to his only meeting with Haywood. "I was a redshirt freshman, and the man broke me. He was a true freshman who held me to zero catches. I think his hands got on more throws that day than mine did. And before every play, he would give me a grin and ask me when I was gonna make it hard for him. I never did." As such a vocal player on the field, a casual fan may expect Haywood to eat up the relative fame that came with being one of the stars of a D1 football program, but it was the opposite. Haywood continued to avoid being noticed around the campus, and stuck to the football facilities for most of every day, whether in season or out of season. When I pressed him about it, he waved me off nonchalantly. "I'm not an ass. I believe I'm the best, but I let my results speak for themselves. I don't need everybody constantly telling me how great I am to keep me going. I never had that growing up, and look where I am. Why would I change that?" He pauses, then expands, to make sure that I know that he's serious. "And I do believe I'm the best. Any cornerback who doesn't believe that about themselves isn't gonna last long." Throughout his first two years in college, Gloria has remained a fixture in his life. While he has a bed in the football dorms now, he still on occasion naps in her backseat after practices. She keeps him grounded, even as the hype surrounding him continues to build. As he prepares to enter his junior season, he's one of the leaders of the most talented team in the MAC, and Deathcpo has left no doubt about that. Haywood's success will directly affect the Rockets' season. "I like the pressure. I like being uncomfortable. Nothing big ever comes from being comfortable. I hate working out, lifting weights and all that, but I do it because that's how I get ahead. That's how I become the best. Complacency don't have no place in my life." Haywood slides off the hood of his car and walks around back. He pops the trunk and grabs a sweater, pulls it over his head, and then points at the pile of clothes he pulled it from. "That was my closet at one point. My bedroom was the seats. I didn't get to where I am because life treated me right." I asked him if he harbored resentment towards life, due to everything it had thrown at him. He considered the question for awhile. "Nah, I got football. I play angry. But off the field, I got good people around me and I want to make them proud. I don't have the time or the energy to be constantly angry. I was raised better than that." He pats Gloria's roof, then smiles at her like you might imagine a kid smiles at his crush at prom. It was a big, childlike smile. "My grandma gets a lot of the credit for raising me. She was my rock. But when she was gone, all I had was Gloria. And she became my rock." I put my things away, shook Haywood's hand, and thanked him for his time. I was thinking about the interview, trying to frame this story about a football player that didn't have much to do with football. It was a curious predicament, but as I turned away, he called my name and I turned back to see him climbing in the door, the grin still plastered on his face. Then he said it. "Isn't she beautiful?" I couldn't help but agree.
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    Oh, Snap! Titans snap something other than their legs, snapping a 14 game losing streak
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    Reasons why I'm becoming an alcoholic: 1. Saints defense
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    Who were this week's studs and duds? STUDS Christian Skaggs, QB, 32 of 50 for 457 yards, 6 TD - 133.1 QBR Arrest warrant has been filed for what Skaggs did to the Saints' defense on Sunday. E.J. McQuarters, DE, 2 sacks, FF, FR, 3 tackles EJM came up big for the Bengal defense in their impressive week one showing. Raheem Robinson, WR, 4 catches for 75 yards 3 carries for 45 yards, TD 2 of 2 for 27 yards, TD Robinson did it all in Jacksonville's big win over Kansas City. Charles Johnson, DE, 3 sacks, 4 tackles Johnson helped the Broncos' D flex their muscles in a dominant week one performance. Daleroy Smart, ILB, 2 FF, FR, 8 tackles Smart picked up where he left off last season - wreaking constant havoc for opposing offenses. Curtis Henry, TE, 12 catches, 160 yards, 2 TD It was a long day for the Saints. Nick Hall, QB, 25 of 34 for 329 yards, 3 TD, 133.1 QBR Hall was nearly flawless against a stout Indianapolis defense. DUDS Sean Jenkins, WR, Not on statsheet Jenkins was nowhere to be seen in the Saints' disappointing season opener Jarius Jones, QB, 15 of 25 for 137 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 41.6 QBR Jones laid an egg in his Seahawks' debut. Quincy Honeycutt, RB, 11 carries for 14 yards Ew. Shawn Cole, RB, 10 carries for 16 yards Cole went to the Honeycutt School for Running Backs Javier Fields, QB, 17 of 30 for 195 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, 36.8 QBR Fields' completed 66.7% of his passes to a human being on Sunday. Norris Brooksheer, QB, 29 of 46 for 241 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 58.3 QBR Never good when you've got a pair of duds on the same team.
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    FROM DREAMS TO NIGHTMARES Giants start the seaon by firing GM Dream and suffering a crushing 28-6 loss to Dallas
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    Raheem Robinson to Asante Sowell, 8 yd TD pass - 11:56 (14-37)
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    A statement from Redskins coach nephewjack: While we certainly have faith in Javier going forward as our quarterback, we're not going to take any risks with our players' health. At the same time, it's a little early to rule him out for the entire year, and on the advice of team doctors he'll sit until we have a better handle on the full situation. We'll be waiting for an update on his condition, and in the meantime, we have complete confidence in Yancey's ability to step up under center and make this season a successful one, regardless of how long Javier's injury may keep him out.
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    Thanks for tuning in! As you'll remember, last time we revealed players 15-11. Here are the voting results from the fans as to whether these players were overrated or underrated on our list: Ranking Player Rating Description 15 ILB Andre Brooks (Lions) 2.83 Somewhat Underrated 14 DE Ryan Frey (Eagles) 3.33 Somewhat Overrated 13 OG David Wilson (Raiders) 2.58 Pretty Underrated 12 SS Dane Wilson (Steelers) 3.83 Incredibly Overrated 11 OG Jace Brown (Cowboys) 2.75 Kinda Underrated Now, it's time to reveal the rest of the players on our list! These are the top 10 players in NFLHC, the very best of the very best. When points are revealed, each player got a certain number of points from each ballot cast. A first place vote was worth 50 points, second place vote worth 49, etc. Player #10 Player #9 Player #8 Player #7 Player #6 Player #5 Player #4 Player #3 Player #2 Player #1 Thanks for tuning in for all these lists! Here is the ranking of all players who received votes: Who should have made the list that didn't? Who was really overrated? Any further comments?
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    I was ready to call Curtis Henry the greatest tight end we've ever seen, but then I realized he was playing the Saints.
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    MAN RUINS EVERYTHING WELLS MISSES ANOTHER GAME-WINNING FIELD GOAL VS. TITANS
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    THE REDSKINS GENERAL MANAGER MAY SUBMIT A RESPONSE UNTIL 11:30 PM ET 3/23/2017 Javier Fields may have suffered a partially torn rotator cuff in the week one loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The recommendation by doctors would be for a second opinion that may take a week to come through but to at least leave him out of the active roster during the next game. The Redskins have been asked to reach a decision on Thompson's injury: A ) Do nothing. Javier Fields will be ready for week 2. B ) Rest Fields and wait for second opinion. Javier Fields will be inactive for week 2 and may be inactive in future weeks depending on the opinion of the doctors. Doctors may also hold him out longer than just committing to the surgery (including the next offseason). C ) Commit to rotator cuff surgery. Javier Fields will be out until the 2021 season.
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    Because it's Week 1, a lot of shit just isn't available yet due to a lot of dividing by zero (Your opponent has only played one team, you, so your SOS is 0/0, for example). But here is what I CAN give you: Elo Rating (1500 is average. Variance is upped this year because I felt like the numbers did not correct themselves quickly or strongly enough last year): Elo Change (just change in Elo from the start): Pythagorean Difference (Difference between actual wins and expected wins based on PF/PA. Sort of a measure of luck. Sort of.): AY/A+ (Adjusted Yards Per Attempts, assigning yardage to TDs and INTs. From PFR. 100 is average, 15 is the standard deviation. Uses 2019 results to help adjust it into context):
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    Skaggs & Sons: Open for Business Curtis Henry explodes for 12 catches, 160 yards and 2 touchdowns
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    Don't let the Packers offense putting up 38 points distract you from the fact that the Bears were shut out.
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    Killing Fields: Eagles defense feasts as AT and Co. struggles
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    After a 5-7 season with two separate Head Coaches and two periods with no coach, the Kent State Golden Flashes have taken a shot on an unknown commodity, TazerMan. He was born and raised in Australia, later moving to America and attending University at Stanford. He has done much volunteer work to become familiar with the College environment, and after some success and much effort, he worked his way into the College ranks. Kent State know that they are in a tough spot, and they felt that they needed to take a chance on someone who could stay and run the program for years to come. Kent State's most recent recruiting class has been described as one of "Quantity, but without the 4-star [recruits]. They also have the highest amount of recruits 2-star and lower. The Golden Flashes badly need a coach that will stick around for the long haul, because if this class is the meat of their roster in 2-3 years? Yuck." Hopes are low for the coming season as the team adjusts to the new scheme and a poor recruiting class, with very poor depth in certain areas. Coach TazerMan said "I would like to develop this program into a contender in the MAC, and I know that this may take a while, so I would like to stick around here for a long time. I know that many outside of Kent State have faith in me, but I would like to ask the fans if they can keep supporting the team, because in a few years you never know what might happen!"
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    I'd say that's a pretty fair assessment of the PHI @ CAR game. Skaggs is going to score (unless we break him too) so it's going to come down to how much our defense can get in the backfield, limit the damage and how well our offense can control the ball/clock. We're probably going to need a big special teams/defensive play to win this one in Carolina. I like our chances beating this team at the end of the season or playoffs when the weather is cold/shitty than at the beginning of the season when it's warm and sunny. Can't wait, should be a good one.
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    NO OFFENSE TEXANS BLANK BEARS IN SEASON OPENER, 14-0 Quincy Honeycutt tripped up in the backfield, one of the Bears' many offensive miscues on Sunday
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    Darth Paul Paul Howell puts up 6 catches, 131 yards, and a TD against his former team as the Jets win 31-14
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    The story of 2017 in the Big XII was supposed to be about Texas, then everybody else. And it was--but it almost wasn't. The Longhorns began the year #1 and ended it as the national champion, but once again West Virginia knocked them off of their perch in a 9-0 start that launched them as high as #2 in the country. There were quite a few other teams who tried to challenge the Longhorns' Big XII supremacy: TCU and its elite defense, an Oklahoma experiencing quarterback transition, and an overhauled Kansas. Those three teams combined for 6 points against Texas, even as they all put together seasons that were varying degrees of good to really good. Only when Texas defeated the seemingly kryptonite-laden Mountaineers in the Big XII Championship Game could they finally put their demons to rest and make a run at the ultimate glory... INTRODUCING Marcus Swartz, Ibrahim Smiley, Arturo Pacheco (at RB), Tom Oldham, Quinn Burr, Malcolm Davis, Ben Goode, Devon Drummond, Dylan Stewart, Graham Burnett, Tom Wyman, Brad Davis, Will Holly, Cameron Riley, Hudson Adam, acewulf PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS For the fifth straight year, Texas and Oklahoma were the only two Big XII teams ranked in the preseason poll. And for the second straight year, Texas began the year in the top spot. However, the Sooners came in at #20 after losing Norris Brooksheer and Tai Miller to early declaration. That was the lowest ranking in school history at the time. Even so, almost every school in the conference had some reason for optimism: Kansas (19), TCU (16), Texas Tech (9), West Virginia (8), Baylor (4), and Oklahoma State (3) all received votes. The Big XII Network's preseason projections were as follows: Big XII North Kansas (7-5, 5-2) Oklahoma (8-4, 5-2) West Virginia (7-5, 4-3) Iowa State (3-9, 1-6) Kansas State (3-9, 0-7) Big XII South Texas (11-1, 7-0) TCU (10-2, 5-2) Texas Tech (5-7, 4-3) Oklahoma State (7-5, 2-5) Baylor (5-7, 2-5) IS TEXAS BACK? To some degree, this was the only question that mattered in the Big XII. Texas was once again historically loaded, and they'd added their final piece of the puzzle in quarterback Brad Davis. The transfer from San Jacinto College of the Houston metro area was one of the most prized junior college recruits in the country in 2015, chose Texas over TCU, and redshirted in 2016 during the up-and-down senior year of Sam Light. Texas fans were ready for that change at quarterback, and their patience was rewarded. In his first five games, Davis threw for 1617 yards and 13 touchdowns against 2 interceptions, completing 71.3% of his passes in that span. With Davis paired with receivers like Harry Whiteside and tight end Will Holly, along with a dependable runningback in Troy Booker and an elite offensive line to tie it together, the offense seemed unstoppable. With two eventual top-six picks at cornerback in Ivory Hull and Troy Marshall, along with an elite defensive front led by Lance Nattiel and James Robertson, the defense was elite. The Longhorns dominated Arkansas and North Carolina, edged out #5 Florida, then made their presence known in conference play by obliterating Texas Tech and Baylor. But next up was the obstacle that tripped them last year: a date with West Virginia. And this West Virginia team was a lot better than last year's version... TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS In fact, West Virginia was undefeated entering the Texas game, sporting a 5-0 record that easily marked their best start in school history. They were led by a largely unheralded cast: Richmond King, "Super" Mario Davis, and Todd Sykes on offense; Dick McCready, Jack Weisensee, and Rob Evans on defense. But this group wholly bought into the team-first mentality, and under the leadership of Coach ETMIV they rocketed out the gate. They knocked off 14th-ranked Pittsburgh on the road, backed it up with a win over 20th-ranked Virginia at home, and boatraced Colorado State 48-31 before their first major test against Oklahoma. The Sooners had already risen to #9 on the strength of their own 3-0 start, so it was an early chance for a third marquee win for West Virginia. The Mountaineers took full advantage. They went up 13-3 by halftime, never trailed or turned the ball over, and pulled away late for a 30-20 win that officially put the country on notice that the Mountaineers were here. With a 21-14 win over Kansas State, #9 West Virginia would set up an undefeated, top-ten matchup with #1 Texas in Austin. Once again, the Mountaineers gave Texas everything they could handle and then some. They led 14-3 late in the second quarter and 21-10 early in the third. But Texas rallied back, using Demetrius Patterson's interception to bridge a Troy Booker touchdown run and a Brad Davis touchdown pass to storm in front, 24-21. West Virginia had an answer, though, tying it up on a field goal in the last two minutes and sending it to overtime. In the first extra session, both teams traded short field goals. In the second overtime, the West Virginia defense was able to hold Texas to a field goal again. This time, West Virginia found paydirt. Richmond King's rollout pass to Andre Blade went for the game-winning touchdown, and West Virginia had stunned Texas for the second straight year. The Mountaineers vaulted up to #3 in the country as a result of that win, and immediately followed it up with a 34-14 rout of 17th-ranked Kansas (their fifth ranked win in seven games) to jump up to #2 behind Boston College. But after the Kansas win, there was trouble in paradise. They needed a touchdown in the last two minutes to escape Baylor 21-19, then needed a field goal in the last 30 seconds to get past Iowa State. They were 9-0, ranked #2 in the country, and had their first-ever Big XII North title securely in hand with a 6-0 conference start. They made their hay while the sun shined, but the rain did yet pour down over West Virginia. They trailed TCU 23-9 in the second half, rallied to tie it at 23 and send the game into overtime, but they only mustered a field goal in the extra frame and gave up a touchdown. Week 13 was indeed unlucky, and the undefeated dream was not to be. The next game was their worst offensive output of the season in a 21-10 loss to Kentucky. It wasn't even Alex Rodgers, Derrick Schwartz, or Teddy Walker who plagued the Mountaineers that game: it was runningback Bryan Browning, with 148 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. West Virginia would end the regular season with a win over Marshall, though, and they would still have a chance at the Big XII title with the outright division win. UP AND DOWN IN SOONERLAND When Norris Brooksheer declared early for the 2017 NFL Draft, quarterback became an open battle between redshirt freshman Chester Brenner and true freshman Graham Burnett. It was reportedly not much of a battle, as Burnett seized the reins from day 1 of fall practice and won the job going away. But it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows in Norman. Burnett's debut against Alabama earned mixed reviews. On the plus side, they won on a neutral site against the #6 team in the country (and vaulted from #20 to #9 as a result). On the downside, Burnett threw 1 touchdown pass against 3 interceptions on 19-32 passing. Throughout the season, he sprinkled in gems of games like his performance against Colorado (20-26 for 311 yards, 2 TD) and Texas Tech (17-23 for 240 yards, 2 TD). But he also showed his age at times, going through a three-game stretch where he completed just 35-67 passes, averaged 140 yards per game, and threw 5 interceptions without a touchdown pass. Oklahoma's season went up and down with their young signal-caller. They started 3-0 before the aforementioned loss to West Virginia. They blew by Texas Tech before a surprising loss to 2-4 Auburn that knocked the Sooners out of the rankings for the first time ever. They pulled out a close one against Air Force before scoring 3 points in the Red River Shootout. They beat Kansas State before dropping to 6-4 with a loss to Kansas. That matched the Robert Price-era school record with their 4th loss of the season. But thanks to a renewed defensive effort and a late-season recovery of form by Burnett, the record would not be broken (yet). They closed the regular season with a 28-14 doubling-up of Iowa State and a 17-7 win over a reeling Oklahoma State to finish the regular season 8-4. Burnett finished the year with an impressive 65.3% completion percentage and compiled just a hair under 200 yards per game--but he also threw just 13 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions. He still had plenty of room to grow, and things would get worse before they got better...but that's another story. STATE FUNERALS The three western land-grant universities of the Big XII all struggled to sub-.500 seasons in 2017. They got there via different paths and left the season on different trajectories, but they're all named ___ State so they're getting grouped together anyway. Kansas State and Oklahoma State were both coming off of bowl seasons, and Iowa State was still in search of its first-ever bowl game. The signs of trouble emerged immediately for all three: the Cyclones lost their opener to Texas Tech, the Wildcats lost their opener to Houston, and the Cowboys dropped a stunner to a Lawrence Pritchett-led Tulane. Oklahoma State bounced back with consecutive wins over Akron and Northern Illinois, but an inconsistent offense, a leaky defense, and a lack of depth plunged them into a spiral despite the performances of Raheem Robinson and Louis Peterson. They found wins against Baylor (who went 0-7 in conference play) and Ball State--and that was it. They finished 4-8, closing the season with a 16-0 loss to Texas and a 17-7 loss to Oklahoma. Kansas State finished with an identical record: 4-8 (1-6) with a win over Baylor. They were led by Dylan Stewart, a fullback converted to runningback whose 119.6 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns led the Big XII in 2017. In addition to the Baylor game, they picked off Oregon State, Illinois, and Cincinnati and stayed competitive with #11 West Virginia, #23 TCU, and #23 Kansas--they just couldn't seal the deal. For K-State, the hope would have to be that next year would be a return to the winning ways of 2016. Iowa State's season was particularly curious among the three western land-grant schools--in a good way. They started 1-4 with the offense mustering a paltry 10.2 points per game. But as the season progressed onward, the pieces began to mesh a little bit more. The core of the offense centered itself around sophomore quarterback Clifford Wilcox, freshman receiver Tom Oldham, and sophomore runningback Arturo Pacheco. The Cyclones pounded Marshall before upsetting Oklahoma State in Stillwater. But just as bowl-eligibility seemed plausible, they tripped up against Stanford. They gave up 161 yards and 3 scores to Frank Osborn while rushing for just 63 yards of their own and lost 21-17. They nearly made up for it against 2nd-ranked West Virginia, only for a late field goal to let the Mountaineers escape undefeated. A third straight loss (to Oklahoma) buried their bowl hopes, but they still closed out the season strong. They took care of Baylor at home, and followed it up with a memorable win over Kansas State in Manhattan--memorable because it was Pacheco's breakout game. He rushed for 231 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 28-14 win, and suddenly he became the hot pick for breakout star in 2018. More on that in the next installment. ROCK CHALK REVIVAL Sometimes, a negative and a negative make a positive. After Kansas graduated 14 senior starters from the 2016 squad that finished the year 2-10, they wasted no time rebounding. After taking over for DeAndre Jackson late in 2016, Eric Jennings retained the full-time starting quarterback job as a sophomore. Seniority was largely a non-factor, as 16 starting spots were occupied by freshmen and sophomores. That included true freshman wide receiver Malcolm Davis (who in his recruitment was thought to be a Nebraska lean before he committed to Kansas), true freshman left tackle Ben Goode, redshirt freshman runningback Jalen Clayton, and redshirt sophomore linebacker James Carson. The Jayhawks hit the ground running, upsetting #18 Wisconsin at home on a fourth-quarter Clayton touchdown run. They ran off a 3-0 start before losing at Arizona, then knocked off 17th-ranked TCU on a 177-yard day from Clayton. Then, Jennings started to get hot. He threw for 3 scores against Oklahoma State and 4 against UCLA, his passer rating climbing over 220 in both games to get Kansas bowl-eligible. But with a showdown against West Virginia with the Big XII North on the line, Kansas came out flat. They trailed 17-0 at the half and 31-7 after three quarters in the 34-14 loss. They followed it up with a 22-0 shutout loss to Texas. Still, they finished the Big XII slate off well. Against Oklahoma, the Jayhawks built up a 14-0 lead and never looked back in collecting their third win over the Sooners in four years, 24-13. Against Kansas State, they followed a similar script in a 24-14 win to break a two-game losing streak in the series. Alas, the season would not end on a happy note, for Missouri and Aaron Shea were in the way. Shea threw for four touchdowns in the third quarter alone (and five overall) to blow through the Jayhawk defense and pace the Tigers to their third unanswered win in the series. Kansas was back to a bowl game, but they would still have a ways to go before they were back to 2014 form. BU-TT-ING OUT Texas Tech and Baylor both went through all sorts of tumult in 2017. They enjoyed winning streaks, endured losing streaks, missed postseason play by different margins, and ultimately both underwent coaching changes. Texas Tech was the closer of the two to seeing the postseason, and their tragedy is that they would've made it easily if a few things had gone differently. After a win against Iowa State to open the season, longtime coach LamboThrone resigned to take the North Carolina job. After an expedited search process, Texas Tech hired acewulf away from Oregon State, and he was immediately thrown into the fire by Tech's non-conference schedule. They faced, in order: #7 LSU, an unranked Justin Hunter-led Mississippi State that would make the playoffs that year, #1 Texas, #15 Oklahoma, and defending Big Ten champion Iowa. They lost all five games. But under the rocky leadership of junior quarterback Christian Barkley, Texas Tech rallied in the second half of the season. They beat a similarly struggling USC by stuffing a two-point conversion attempt in the final two minutes. They took down Kansas State in Manhattan, then beat Baylor at home to pull up to 4-5. Bad Christian Barkley showed up again in a loss to defending national champion Notre Dame, only for Good Christian Barkley to take over in a win over Oklahoma State. A road date with TCU was all that stood between Texas Tech and bowl eligibility--and boy, did TCU stand in their way. Barkley threw a pick-six literally 20 seconds into the game. Pair that with interceptions in the third and fourth quarters, the fact that Texas Tech did not score, and it was the worst game of Barkley's career at the worst time. They finished 5-7 (4-3), a tough thing to do--and also an object lesson on the value of counting to 6 when designing a non-conference schedule. Baylor's non-conference schedule didn't feature the same glitches that Texas Tech's did. They had two tough opponents (Michigan State, Notre Dame), along with two MWC foes and Bowling Green. Their problem was that they just weren't very good, and they weren't very lucky either. In the first quarter of the opener against Michigan State, sophomore runningback Sean Bell scored his first career touchdown. Later in the first quarter, Bell got hurt and would miss the rest of the game. Jason Vick, the starting quarterback for the previous two years (supplanted now by Marcus Swartz), was now Bell's backup at runningback. He carried the ball 21 times, gained 54 yards, and lost a Big XII-record 3 fumbles. Michigan State rolled 34-17. Bell was out for three games, but the one bit of good fortune Baylor had was that those three games were their gimme games. They won narrowly over Wyoming, they blocked a field goal in overtime to beat Bowling Green, and they finally looked dominant in a 34-17 win over David Kaplan's San Jose State. Believe it or not, that 3-1 start was the best in school history at the time. But just as Bell came back, the schedule went from 0 to 100. For a team that didn't win a game for the rest of the season, they could have performed worse. The Texas game was a rout, but they lost by a margin of just 20-14 to defending champion Notre Dame. They lost by the same score to Oklahoma State. They had undefeated and 2nd-ranked West Virginia on the ropes until Richmond King's touchdown pass with two minutes to go. From there, though, it fell apart. They lost by more convincing margins to Texas Tech, Kansas State, Iowa State, and TCU to close their season at 3-9 with a winless record in conference play. After the season, coach Taborfan20 would resign. The Big XII South title in 2014 was a distant memory, and since then the Bears had gone 7-29. Baylor would hire Houston coach TuscanSota over the offseason. THE FIRST PEAK OF TCU Let's start with the fact that in the 2017 season, the Horned Frogs allowed 14.62 points per game over the course of the season. It's the seventh-lowest per-game average in Big XII history, within a few tenths of a point of 2015 Oklahoma State and seven-hundredths of a point better than 2015 national champion Oklahoma. Only two other teams in Big XII history have allowed so few points while scoring as many as 26.54 points per game like TCU scored: 2017 Texas and 2018 Texas. Wire-to-wire, the 2017 squad is arguably the best team that TCU's ever had. They were led offensively by steady senior tailback Bradley Cooley, an improved sophomore version of Nathan Burden, junior receiving dynamo Jamel Beckham, and an offensive line anchored by tackles August Gilliland and Mahamadou Dennis. On defense, they had sophomores Daquan Darcey and Matthew Davis along with junior Geno Bohannon to anchor their front seven. Then they had a secondary led by senior cornerback Curtis Howard, freshman Tom Wyman, and senior free safety Andrew Wright. The team was absolutely stacked with talent, and it all meshed together for the Frogs. They started the year on a strong note, blowing pre-Conroy Colorado State out of the water 42-10. Over their first four games, they outscored CSU, Georgia State, Central Michigan, and Rice by a 139-27 margin. In their first true test of the season at Kansas, though, they slipped. They limited Eric Jennings, but the Jayhawks limited Bradley Cooley and intercepted Nathan Burden in the 23-14 Kansas win. They flipped that score against Kansas State, then collected their third straight win over SMU 27-13 to clinch bowl-eligibility. They were nearly derailed against 3-4 Oklahoma State after falling behind 14-0 at the half. But despite completing just 11 of 23 passes for the game, Burden threw for a pair of scores down the stretch--including the game-winning 17-yard strike to Emanuelu Lesa with 1:14 to play. That set up their all-important week 12 matchup with Texas. A TCU win would put them in control of the Big XII South; a loss would clinch the division for Texas. It was no contest. Burden finished 8-20 for 84 yards with 3 picks, and Texas walked away with a 33-3 win. Unable to beat the #3 team on the road, TCU's next game was against #2 West Virginia. The Frogs took an early lead in Morgantown, going up 17-6 early in the second quarter and 23-9 late in the third. The Mountaineers rallied to tie it at 23 on a last-minute touchdown pass from Richmond King to Jack Phillips and force overtime. This time around, TCU close-game magic was stronger than Mountaineer close-game magic. West Virginia kicked a field goal in overtime, and TCU answered with a 6-yard walk-off touchdown pass from Burden to Lesa to end West Virginia's undefeated run. It was TCU's signature win for the season, and they used the momentum from it to close the season strong: they shut out Texas Tech 24-0 with a touchdown on offense, defense, and special teams, then they got their fourth straight win over Baylor to close the season by a 35-20 margin. They finished 10-2 (5-2), second in the Big XII South only to an historically good Texas team. THE HEART OF TEXAS Losing to West Virginia for the second straight year was a gut-punch to the Longhorns. Again, they were knocked off their perch at #1. Again, the doubts came raining down: "Is Texas pulling another Texas?" Those doubts were legitimate, built upon a foundation of three straight years of evidence. So when Texas was hit by that loss, they had a choice. They could internalize those doubts and use them as an excuse to let the season go south, or they could wear them as armor as they braved the meat of their schedule. They chose a third option: they erased every doubt in the book with one of the most impressive runs we will ever see to close the season. They went on the road to #14 Arizona State and obliterated them, 35-6. They went to Dallas for the Red River Shootout and smothered #25 Oklahoma, 13-3. They came home to play #23 Kansas and shut them out 22-0. They hosted #18 TCU and destroyed them, 33-3, clinching the Big XII South in the process. They finished their Big XII schedule with a 16-0 road shutout of Oklahoma State. In five games, with four coming against ranked teams, they outscored their foes 119-12 without allowing a single touchdown. That touchdown-free streak would strangely come to an end in the regular season finale at Utah State, which was entirely inconsequential because the Longhorns won that game 66-7. For the regular season, they outscored their opponents 387-119. So once again, Texas was able to rally from its West Virginia mishap and earn a trip to its second straight Big XII Championship Game. This time, the Horns had their #1 ranking back--and those very same West Virginia Mountaineers were there to meet them in the title game, ready to slap that #1 ranking out of their hands yet again. Texas got started on the right foot in this one, taking a 7-0 lead after the first quarter on a Brad Davis-Roy Davis touchdown connection. Then, West Virginia slowly and steadily started seizing control of the game. Richmond King found Todd Sykes for a score. Texas took the lead back with a field goal, but a late Mario Davis touchdown run gave the Mountaineers a 14-10 lead at the half. They opened it up to 21-10 on King's touchdown pass to Andre Blade--the tight end who caught the game-winner in Austin in week 8. West Virginia would not score again. Troy Booker made it a one-score game with 1:33 to play, and Texas's defense did the rest. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Troy Marshall picked off a pass intended for Jack Phillips and took it to the house untouched for the 24-21 lead. Jon Thomas's interception later in the fourth would seal it for Texas: they had slain their West Virginian white whale, become the first repeat Big XII champion ever, and locked up the #1 seed in the playoffs. POSTSEASON PLAY Top-seeded Texas began their playoff run as the Big XII's only playoff qualifier. They faced off against 8th-seeded Mississippi State, led by junior runningback Will Fuller and senior quarterback Justin Hunter--the latter of whom famously keyed a shocking road upset over #1 Florida State as a freshman in 2014. Fuller scored a pair of touchdowns in the first half, and the Bulldogs refused to let the Longhorns to take the lead. Mississippi State led 20-17 heading into the final few minutes of the game. Brad Davis then led a pair of scoring drives, capped off by a Xavier Jernigan field goal with 3:40 to tie it, and another Jernigan field goal with 58 seconds left to take the lead. Ivory Hull's interception at the Texas 36 with 7 seconds to play sealed Texas's berth in the semifinals. Good ol' hardnosed football won the day for Oklahoma in the Texas Bowl. Facing off against Georgia Tech, the Sooners dominated on the ground and dominated on defense to win their third straight and ninth overall game to close the year. Sean Egloff led all ballcarriers with 170 yards, 16 of which came on a touchdown run in the second quarter. Lee Davis's pick-six made it a 14-0 ballgame, and an Alejandro Aguirre field goal put them in cruise control at 17-0. Georgia Tech broke the shutout in the fourth quarter on Jamie Avery's pass to Nathan Fournier, but Oklahoma blocked the extra point for good measure. In the Bourbon Bowl, Kansas's return to postseason play was spoiled as Corey Mendoza outdueled Eric Jennings. The Jayhawks scored first, but Purdue answered by scoring 24 unanswered in the middle two quarters that essentially put the game out of reach. Mendoza started the flurry with a touchdown pass at the 11:33 mark of the second quarter, Dan Weaver followed it up with a pick-six two minutes later, Mark Kirschbaum's field goal made it 17-7 at the half, and William Carlson's third-quarter touchdown run closed it out. Kansas finished the season 1-4 away from home but 8-5 overall. Texas headed out west to the Rose Bowl for their semifinal game against 4th-seeded Boston College, the only other team to be ranked #1 in the country at any point in the season. The Alex Leshoure-led Eagles went back-and-forth, punch-for-punch with the Longhorns. Neither team ever led by more than a score. Leshoure struck first, then Davis answered with an 11-yard score to Spencer Saul and a 72-yarder to Harry Whiteside. Ben Curry's touchdown run tied it before the half, and Xavier Jernigan missed a field goal that would've broken a tie as time expired. In the second half, Brad Davis's pick-six gave Boston College the lead back, and his third touchdown pass of the day tied it right back up. The rest was just a battle of field goals. Jernigan hit from 28. Isaiah Anderson hit from 40. Jernigan hit from 33. But with 0:40 on the clock, Anderson missed a 43-yarder, and Texas hung on to win 27-24. Brad Davis finished with 411 yards, the second-highest total in his career at exactly the right time, and Texas was headed to its first-ever national championship game. Heading back east now, we fly over to the Big Apple where TCU and Air Force met for the Pinstripe Bowl. Air Force was running one of the most successful smashmouth attacks in the country behind Frederick Chacon and Alejandro Silva. Their ability to get yardage on the ground continued against TCU--the problem for the Falcons is that Bradley Cooley (26 for 180, 2 TD) outrushed both of them combined, and TCU's offense made big gain after big gain to blow through the Air Force defense. Cooley set the tone with a 38-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Nathan Burden finished 11-23 for the game, but he delivered a 70-yard strike to Jamel Beckham to give the Frogs the lead for good. And in the third quarter, Cooley's second score put TCU up 24-14 to give them some breathing room--Air Force wouldn't get closer than 7 after that, and a pair of Paul Peterson field goals would put that to bed. TCU won 30-17, their second straight bowl win and their school-record 11th win of the season. Finally, we remember the 2017 Alamo Bowl. For West Virginia and its 12 senior starters, it was one last chance to keep the Mountaineer magic alive. This time, they didn't need some crazy comeback or heart-stopping plays in the clutch: they just straight-up wrecked California. Richmond King found Todd Sykes, Andre Blade, and Todd Sykes again for three touchdown passes in the first 23 minutes to go up 21-0. Cal's Bobby Kolodziej would get the Golden Bears on the board before the half was up, but the second half brought on another onslaught. King hit Mario Davis for another touchdown pass, Terrence Martin picked off a pass, and Davis scored on the ground all in short order. After another Kolodziej touchdown pass, West Virginia completed their display of mastery with a 40-yard bomb from King to Sykes and a Rob Evans pick-six. King finished with a career-high 442 yards and 5 passing touchdowns. Sykes finished with 10 receptions for 205 yards and a career-high 3 touchdown catches. And the strangest (and most awesome) fact about this game is that every single player who made West Virginia's statsheet was a senior. What a way to go out on a high note. BOUGHS OF HOLLY For one night, the most important player in college football was a redshirt junior tight end from the Treasure Coast in Florida, a player who had been buried on the depth chart for three years prior and would only spend one year as a starter before leaving Austin for good. His name was Will Holly, and you'll be hearing his name a lot. Texas was officially one of the last two teams standing. But across the field from them was a surprise opponent. It wasn't Taylor Rodriguez and 2nd-seeded Arizona, who were punched out in the first round by Nebraska. It wasn't Aaron Shea's 6th-seeded Missouri, taken down by Tommy Jones's Michigan in the first round. And it wasn't even Michigan standing in the way, because Nebraska knocked them out 13-6 on the strength of a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. It was Nebraska, the 7th seed, who arrived to the national title game as Texas's ultimate challenger. Led by sophomores Sean Hamilton and Marcus Williams and starting 22 sophomores and juniors out of a possible 24 positions, Nebraska was even viewed as getting there a year early. When the game started and Nebraska's defense grasped Texas's offense like a vicegrip, that "got there early" talk got a lot quieter in a hurry. Nebraska got on the board first, senior kicker Rafael Davidson booting through a 49-yard field goal at the 9:30 mark of the first quarter. Texas had a chance to match it five minutes later, but a visibly nervous Xavier Jernigan couldn't connect from 44. That gave Nebraska a chance to extend their lead as they drove into the Texas red zone--only for Texas to hold them up at the 8-yard line and force them to kick another field goal. Texas didn't score until late in the second quarter, but when they scored they weren't playing for field goals. From the Nebraska 12, Brad Davis nearly bobbled a high snap, but he recovered it and dumped it off to Will Holly--who immediately showed his value as a red-zone target, turning upfield and diving into the endzone for a score and Texas's first lead. Then, the defense started forcing turnovers. A Demetrius Patterson interception set up a Xavier Jernigan field goal, and a Marcus Williams fumble erased any chance of Nebraska scoring again before the half. But that wouldn't stop Nebraska from scoring after the half. The Huskers picked up the pace to get downfield, scoring when Marcus Williams found a hole in the Texas blitz and bounced for a 20-yard score and a 13-10 lead. Texas needed a run to take control of the game--and with 2017 Texas, that can start from a big play from the offense or from the defense. This one started on offense. Davis found freshman Abdoul Causey for the go-ahead score, and the defense gave them the opportunity to extend the lead. Defensive end Thomas Mughelli got his hand on a Sean Hamilton pass, and safety Jon Thomas cleaned it up with an interception--that set up a Troy Booker touchdown run and a game-high 24-13 lead. Nebraska wouldn't go away quietly. Sean Hamilton threw his only touchdown pass of the day with just 22 seconds to play in the third quarter, a 14-yarder to tight end Darius Mitchell. They went for 2 to try and cut it to a 3-point game, but Marcus Williams was stuffed in the backfield. In the fourth quarter, Texas sealed it. They quickly scored on Jernigan's second field goal of the game (this one from 28 yards) to make it an 8-point game. But the backbreaker came with 8:50 to play. After a bomb from Davis to Harry Whiteside put the Longhorns in scoring range, Davis once again found the reliable Will Holly in the flat that the tight end took in for a 7-yard score and a 34-19 lead. Texas's defense went from stifling to lockdown, and that's where the final score would hold. Brad Davis finished with 359 yards and 3 touchdowns while the legendary Texas secondary held Sean Hamilton to 14-29 passing, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. But the star of the night for one night only was the Treasure Coast tight end, Will Holly. With two touchdown receptions and several other critical catches, he was named National Championship Game MVP as the Texas Longhorns captured their first title in school history. All those years of disappointment, self-inflicted or otherwise, culminated in this moment in Arlington. Texas was finally on top. EXEUNT Ibrahim Smiley, Darren Jones, Kavika Russell, Jerry Walker, Wayne Schmidt, Louis Peterson, Bradley Cooley, Harry Whiteside, Will Holly, Brandon Reamon, Ivory Hull, Richmond King, Todd Sykes, Rob Evans, Taborfan20, Nmize0, LamboThrone (GTHC)
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  31. 4 likes
    I really hope you keep this up all season! One of the top weekly reads this site has seen!
  32. 4 likes
    Defenseless in the Hornet's Nest Saints can't stop Skaggs-Henry connection as Panthers rout Saints in Charlotte.
  33. 4 likes
    CITY OF SMOTHERLY LOVE Quarterback Javier Fields throws 3 INT's in opening game to lose close, defensive battle to Philadelphia.
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  35. 4 likes
    Don't let the fact that AJ Jefferson lost to Joel King distract you from the fact that AJ Jefferson lost to Joel King.
  36. 4 likes
    regretting that ravens defense fantasy pick about now
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    DE Charles Johnson takes questions after winning AFC DPOTW DENVER--Head Coach Bingo415 was joined by 3rd year defensive end Charles Johnson to answer questions following the announcement by the League that Johnson had won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award. Johnson accounted for 3 sacks and 5 tackles in the road win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. It is the first Player of the Week award for a non-special teamer during the Bingo/Descreto tenure in Denver. "Charles is a special player that showed some of his ability as a rookie, took a small step backwards last season as a few of the opposing left tackles learned some of his tricks. But he committed to improvement across the board this off-season and we're seeing the development of what we believe will be a Top 10 D-lineman at season's end. We couldn't be happier that Charles put it all together on the field on Sunday. Kudos retroactively to GM Descreto for having the courage to take the early declaration out of Hawai'i," said coach Bingo in a prepared statement. "I want to thank new D-coordinator Coach Frazier for a couple new moves he taught me this off-season. I've been working on them against Gary (Tomlinson) in practice and he said that a few of 'em are gonna be really tough to block. So I was pretty pumped to get a chance to try them out in Seattle. Now we have to defend our house here against the Champs on Monday night. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that I'm looking forward to sacking Lester a couple times..." Charles Johnson and Owner/Head Coach Bingo are now available for questions...
  38. 3 likes
    Shh. Your franchise's entire existence sits atop a throne of lies.
  39. 3 likes
    The Redskins decide on option 2. We'll get a second opinion.
  40. 3 likes
    Hey guys. It has been almost two months since my dad had a stroke and he's making slow but steady progress in terms of speech! I have been away from football to take care of my dad, and haven't been attending off-season workouts with the team. My diet is pretty clean, but I really want to be in shape for spring ball in April, so I'd love any tips or workout plans you might recommend! For reference, I am a 5'10" 260 nose tackle.
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    Monte Jackson chills in the end zone after catching his second of Skaggs' six touchdown passes Charlotte, NC -- The Carolina Panthers came out in Week One of the 2020 NFLHC Season with a bang. Head Coach CadeRich5 was very excited to see Skaggs back under center after a disappointing playoff run last season. The Panthers looked to the draft to pick up the remaining weapons needed for Skaggs to make a run deep in the playoffs. The Panthers’ most exciting draft pick in the 2020 NFLHC Draft was Curtis Henry, the TE out of Utah State. The massive TE was only on the stat sheet 5 times during his senior season, recording 28 catches, 415 yards and 3 TD’s. His 6’6 frame and impressive catching skills made him a perfect target for Skaggs. His outstanding performance in the combine, where he posted the best scores in most categories for TE, continued in Week 1 against the Saints at home. CBS reporter Jenny Dell caught up with the rookie after the dominant performance by Carolina’s offense on Sunday. Dell asked how he felt about the hype around being the Panthers first round pick. “Honestly, when I first got that call from GM CadeRich5, I was just stoked that I’d be catching TDs from the legend Christian Skaggs. Today I actually got to do that for the first, and second, time.” Henry also addressed the media's concerns about the schedule he faced in college compared to the NFL. “Well, I think today proves it’s a non-issue. Honestly nobody out there today seemed any better than what I was facing on Saturdays.” Skaggs then came over to congratulate the rookie, and the two celebrated all the way off the field, stopping to sign autographs in the stands before making their way back to the locker room. Also, the highly anticipated return of fan favorite running back Mike Latta was a success. “I was just happy to get back out there and run around with my boys,” said Latta, who’s entering his 3rd season in the league. “The ankle feels good, it’s just a mental thing at this point, trusting that it won’t roll up on me again. I’ll be back to midseason form in no time.” Latta ran for 58 yards on 9 carries, as well as catching 4 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Owner/GM/HC CadeRich5 and Head Scout Hagan will be available for questions.
  43. 3 likes
    Bay Watch 2020 San Francisco 49ers begin road to repeat with Thursday victory over LA Rams
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  45. 3 likes
    128 passing yards is garbage in any circumstance.
  46. 3 likes
    Bernard Taylor, GB, 7 for 166 yards, 2 TD, I love that guy. Such a beast
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  48. 3 likes
    Well that couldn't have gone better for us. Good game Giants, I was really worried about this one.
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    Dat disrespect. Looking forward to proving you very, very wrong.
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