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The FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST, Regular Season Episode 4

We’re a quarter of the way through the NFL season already, college ball is in full conference-play swing, and unless you’re a total disaster, your fantasy squad is still alive and kicking. Join Ryan Burns and Sen Sogah on the FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST to talk about all of it. We’ll run through the past weekend’s games, look ahead to some killer matchups in the weekend ahead, cobble together some quarterly-report thoughts and even announce a big trade we consummated in our home league. Gridiron fun for all. Have a click and a listen, and GET YOUR HELMET ON!!!

Click HERE for the FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST, Regular Season Episode 4

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SICKNESS SKULL HELMET

The FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST, 2013 Regular Season Episode 2

Another fantastic week of gridiron action, and the picture has never been less clear. Some of the old standbys are showing up again, but in certain places up is down, left is right, cats and dogs are living together. How are the Raiders not far and a way the worst team in the NFL? Nobody knows. But they’re not. The Steelers are 0-2. The Patriots can’t complete a pass. The Eagles have no brakes. The Browns…well, some things stay the same. Join FootballSickness.com’s Ryan Burns and Sen Sogah to talk a little football. GET YOUR HELMET ON!

Click HERE for the FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST, 2013 Regular Season Episode 2

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SICKNESS SKULL AVATAR copy

COLLEGE SICKNESS: 2013 PAC 12 Preview Podcast with Lisa Horne

In the first of our College Sickness Conference Previews, Lisa Horne joins Sen Sogah and Ryan Burns to break down the Pac 12. UCLA and Stanford met in the conference title game, and each looks poised to make a run at it again. But each has challengers aplenty. The conference is loaded with talent amongst both players and coaches. Don’t let Chip Kelly’s departure fool you: the Pac 12 is here to stay regardless. Longtime Pac observer, Heisman voter and college football writer Lisa Horne joined the guys to break it all down. Fair warning, Cal fans: it’s no fun for you. Better GET YOUR HELMET ON!!!

Click HERE for the FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST 2013 PAC 12 Preview with Lisa Horne

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COLLEGE SICKNESS: Things We Learned Week 1

 

It’s been a long 8 months since the last college football game, but the sport that we love has returned.We broke out the double TV setup as always for Super Saturday. So what did we learn from the first weekend of college football?

USC’s offensive juggernaut returned with avengence. They put the beat down on Hawaii as expected. Barkley found Marquise Lee early and often. Now that lethal offense will be watched with trepidation by the rest of the Pac 12.

In what was supposed to be the game of the day, Alabama quickly put Denard Robinson’s Heisman candidacy to rest. He looked confused all night long. Saban had his boys ready to go. All roads to the BCS title roll through Tuscaloosa

Jim Mora got his first win for the UCLA Bruins and it’s clear they have a bunch of playmakers. Question remains: Where were these guys for the last 5 years?

Oklahoma St put up 84 on Savannah St. Now the Tigers head to Tallahassee to face the Seminoles. It’s gonna be a long 2 weeks.

Marcus Lattimore is still good. So is Geno Smith.

Clemson may have a defense this season.

Oklahoma at #4 was overrated.

Boise St began the post-Moore era with a pretty good effort in East Lansing. Unfortunately, Michigan State has Le’Veon Bell. Which leads us to the season debut of…

 

SICKNESS APPROVED

 

Le’Veon Bell.  The Spartans were struggling. They were at home, trailing the Broncos, and in need of a go-to play. Coach D’Antonio found one with #24 in the backfield. They rode the 240-lb back 44 times for a total of 210 yards and 2 TDs. That’s how you get the season started! At one point, near the end of the clinching touchdown drive, Boise State’s defensive backs were resorting to ankle biting rather than form tackling. Physical running like that will always get you on this list.

Marquise Lee.  Originally he was left off the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. If he continues to perform the way he did on Saturday, I bet that mistake won’t happen next season. Hawaii had no idea how to cover or tackle Lee on his way to 10 catches and 297 total yards of offense. His first catch went 75 yards to the house! Kick the season off right why don’t you?

Brett Hundley. Across town there was another outstanding performance. The first play of his college career was a 72-yard touchdown run. Few players, if  any, have announced their presence with more authority.  From there he directed the Bruins offense to 49 points, more than double their scoring average from the 2011 season. Expecations have to be tempered since it was against Rice. It will be much harder when Nebraska and their faithful roll into the Rose Bowl.

 

Sickness Top 10

  1. USC (1-0) Trojans rolled over Hawaii.  
  2. Alabama (1-0) Defensive questions answered. 
  3. LSU (1-0) Tuned up nicely at home.
  4. Oregon (1-0) Had 50 in a quarter and a half.
  5. FSU (1-0) 7 rushing TDs against the Racers.
  6. Georgia (1-0) Buff St was no match.
  7. Oklahoma (1-0) Ugly win at UTEP.
  8. South Carolina (1-0) Marcus Lattimore is back!
  9. Arkansas (1-0) Lots of offense in Fayetteville.
  10.  WVU (1-0) GENO! GENO! GENO!

Heisman Leaders

  1. Matt Barkley
  2. Geno Smith
  3. De’Athony Thomas
  4. Montee Ball
  5. Tyler Wilson

 

Sickness Top 10 Games of 2012

 

 

The college football season is upon us. Media days are under way, and the smell of fall practice is starting to tickle the nostrils. What better way to get ready than a list? There are so many games to watch that I broke it down to 10. I know. I know. There are probably 20 that jump off the schedule to the naked eye. These 10 are by far my favorite right now. So grab a brew. If you don’t know which one, check out the 2 Mugs Beer Draft. Now that you’re sufficiently prepared, enjoy, and feel free to add to the list.

 

10. Wisconsin at Michigan State Oct. 27. I know that some of the main characters from last year’s game have moved on. You know who hasn’t? Montee Ball. For the second year in a row, the Badgers will be led by the Heisman contender as well as an ACC QB transfer. Exit Russell Wilson. Enter Danny O’Brien. If he has the same type of impact that Wilson had, Wisconsin will be tough as nails. Plus, is there any doubt that Camp Randall will be jumping in anticipation of payback? After last year’s ending, I think not.

9. USC at Washington Oct. 13. Washington is a sneaky up and comer. If you don’t know about Keith Price. Here’s a quick primer: 67% comp, 3000+ yds, 33TD 11INT in his first year as a starter. The Husky faithful will be in full throat to welcome the PAC-12 favorite Trojans. Their motto is “unfinished business” and coming off that bowl ban, Barkley, Lee, Woods and Co. will be looking to not only win the conference, but also the national title. With the Sark/Kiffin dynamic, and the fact that USC rolled the Huskies in the Coliseum last year, this should be a fun one.

8. Michigan at Notre Dame Sept. 22. This was one of the best games of 2011 and the rematch shouldn’t disappoint. All-everything Denard Robinson looks to leave his mark on Touchdown Jesus. Last time he was in South Bend, he was doing his best Snoop impression by letting the country know what his name was. He had over 500 yards of total offense… ALONE. Manti Te’o and the notoriously high turf will do their best to slow Shoelace down, but if the last few years are any indication this will be a shootout to the finish.

7. Florida State at Virginia Tech Nov 8. These teams have only met once in the last 3 years, and that’s a damn shame. This matchup is well timed. Logan Thomas has a Heisman campaign that should be in full swing by this time of the season. He’ll have to prove his worth in this game against a Seminole defense that finished in the top 5 last year. There are few places better to watch a game than Lane Stadium on a Thursday Night. There’s sure to be an electric atmosphere both on the field and in the stands.

6. Alabama at Arkansas Sept 15. The SEC opener for both teams will be an interesting one. This used to be a meeting of two of the biggest chap-asses in college football. We still have Saban, but Petrino traded in the headset for some road rash. In his place will stand John L. Smith, more of a Les Miles wacky type of guy. His contract’s for less than a year, but he’s got a talented bunch of kids to roll with. Tyler Wilson back at the helm with Knile Davis back from injury. He’ll need them both at their best to matchup with the best defense in the country.

5. Notre Dame at Oklahoma Oct. 27. Check the top 10 winningest programs of all time. Notre Dame checks in 3rd and the Sooners are in 8th place. Having these two teams meet in the middle of the season is a treat, and something we may not see too much of once the playoffs kick in. Landry Jones to Kenny Stills is a connection made for big-time games. Unfortunately for Brian Kelly, a return to this list means the Irish schedule is not an easy one to navigate. This is the end of a 5 week stretch that includes Michigan, Miami, and Stanford.

4. Oklahoma at West Virginia Nov. 17. Speaking of nasty schedules, the Sooners head to Morgantown for a late season tussle that should determine the Big12 title as these two teams were picked 1-2 in the media’s preseason poll. I’ve already talked about the Sooners’ offensive weapons. West Virginia has it’s own combo: Geno Smith and Tavon Austin. Obviously, this isn’t the Big East they’re playing in anymore. But watch the film. Their talent is good enough to be effective anywhere in the country, especially in the offense that Dana Holgorsen runs. Smith is a darkhorse Heisman candidate and should be a top pick in the NFL Draft. Don’t blink, you might miss something in this one!

3. Virginia Tech at Clemson Oct. 20. This matchup gets bonus points because of two coaches who are Sickness favorites, Frank Beamer and Dabo Swinney. Dabo seems like the type of coach that players have dreamed of playing for. Judging by their last few recruiting classes, that isn’t far from the truth. These squads met twice last year. V-Tech was handled by the Tigers in the first matchup, and with the ACC Title on the line, Tahj Boyd and Sammy Watkins made sure there wasn’t going to be a different outcome. Gotta believe that this one is already circled on the wall of Beamer’s office.

2. Michigan at Alabama Sept 1. We clamor for big match-ups early in the season and the powers-that-be have given us just that. Tuscaloosa. Wolverines. Saban. Shoelace. Need I say more?

1. November 3rd, 2012. Cop-out? YES INDEED! Just check the TV listings. Oregon travels to South Central LA to take on the Trojans in what’s going to be a prelude to a ridiculous Pac-12 Championship game. The Big12 newcomers, TCU and WVU meet in the back hills of Morgantown; Talk about a contrast in styles. TCU likes to beat you down with a fast physical defense, while the Mountaineers are cool just flat out running you off the field. And down in Baton Rouge, the rematch of the BCS National Title game will take place. As they said in The Program, “Kill em all and let the paramedics sort it out!” To separate this date would’ve been too hard to do and I saw no reason to.

You’ll notice that none of the traditional rivalries are on this list. That’s because we’ll countdown the top 5 college football rivalries next. In the meantime, set the DVR cause we’re about to have some fun this year. But then again you know this…. because you have the SICKNESS!! GET YOUR HELMET ON!!!

SICK LINKS: July 18, 2012

Most of you are familiar with the Sick Links pages reachable via the menu bar above. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on those pages over the years, and decided the obvious extension was a daily link page.  We’re not going to be ultra-formal about it, and if you’re looking for constant updates about who dropped a pass at mini-camp, this is the wrong spot. These will be pieces we’ve actually read and that contributed to our enjoyment and/or understanding of the game in a significant way. We will no doubt miss plenty, but… we have limited time, you have limited time, and these are what stuck out.  Some will be a few days old, some will be timely, and some will be diamonds from some long-forgotten rough. Whatever. It’s the SICKNESS, baby. No need to quarrel over formalities. We’re here for the love of it.  Enjoy.

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The immortal Greg Cosell on the evolution of the zone blitz.

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Alen Dumonjic breaks down some D’Qwell Jackson tape for Goal Line Stand. (Spoiler alert: D’Qwell Jackson is good.)

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Bleacher Report’s Ryan Riddle gives you his top 25 NFL players under 25 years old.

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Some fantastic Redskins talk with Brent Carothers from BurgundyBlog.com on the Son of Washington Podcast.

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The Deacon breaks down a recent fantasy mock as only he can do for Dexter Manley’s Library. Quality draft, quality insight, quality chortles.

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Football Outsider’s Thomas Gower reviews Chris Brown’s The Essential Smart Football, which I am ashamed to admit I have not yet obtained. I assure you, I am penitent like Indiana Jones looking for a cup.

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The FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST, Happy New Year 2012 Edition

The fellas are back to ring in the new year and break down all the gridiron wonderfulness happening across this great. ‘Tis indeed the season for smackin’, and the NFL playoffs are arriving right on schedule.  FootballSickness.com’s Ryan Burns and Sen Sogah break down all four wild card games, touch on some of the organizational changes, review and preview all the big college bowls, and even foreshadow some NFL Draft Sickness, which will hit warp speed in a little over a month. For now, though, it’s all about the games on the field, and to be on the field you have to GET YOUR HELMET ON!!!

Click HERE for the FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST, Happy New Year 2012 Edition

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1000 combined passing yards in one playoff game, anyone?

The FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST, 2011 Year-End Special

One more week of regular season NFL action, then it’s on to the playoffs, and we’ve got the big bowls right around the corner. Burns and Sen Dog toss the pigskin around on a wide array of topics, including Drew Brees’ record-breaking performance and race with Aaron Rodgers for the NFL MVP, playoff scenarios and the best bowl performances so far.  Click play while you get that last workout or chore in before the new year is upon us.  Pop that champagne and GET YOUR HELMET ON!

Click here for The FOOTBALL SICKNESS PODCAST 2011 Year-End Special  

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This is a record-breaking podcast.

 

 

 

An Early Christmas Present

We may be seeing a new trend in college football. First Andrew Luck spurned the call of the NFL, and now a year later Matt Barkley has done the same. Christmas has indeed come early on the campus of USC. The reaction is understandably mixed with people cheering Barkley for staying in school, and others deriding the decision to leave money on the table.

Barkley is a different cat. He spent last year at this time volunteering in Nigeria helping orphans and widows. He’s dreamed of playing in the Coliseum for as long as he could say “Fight On!” And really, how can you blame him? USC is one of the premier programs in all of college football. They’ve become the de-facto professional team here in LA. And as he said, they do have unfinished business.

On the field, the lure to keep playing is simple. The Trojans are coming off an impressive finish which saw them win 10 games this year. Odds are that USC will be a preseason top 3 pick, if not #1. Barkley is the frontrunner for the 2012 Heisman, followed closely by his teammate Robert Woods, the best receiver in the country. The receiver on the other side, Marqise Lee is pretty dominant in his own right. The offensive line will be without the services of Matt Kalil, but will still be one of the best in the Pac12 conference. He has the chance to leave as the best USC quarterback ever.

The worry is always about health and a significant injury keeping him from having a professional career. But look at it this way. Barkley isn’t going back to UC Davis. If something happens, and he’s not able to play in the NFL, he’ll still have a degree from USC to fall back on. His family is not hurting financially, and the money for a top NFL pick is no longer the 50M guaranteed that Bradford got 3 years ago; or the 61M total that #2 got from the Raiders.

No matter what your opinion on the matter, college football is going to benefit greatly from Barkley’s return. USC is going to benefit from having a top QB lead their team out of their sanctions. Oregon has dominated the Pac12 recently, and you know that doesn’t sit well in Heritage Hall. But it’s game on now. All the coaching changes in the conference this off-season made for big headlines. But the coach that was, in some minds, on the hot seat in Trojan Land seems to be sitting pretty right now.

Life after Barkley is quite uncertain. Woods will most certainly take flight.  Scholarship reductions will make careful recruiting in the next few years vital to the future of the program. They do have some young talent that redshirted this past year on defense, and their top tacklers were freshman linebackers. But regardless of what Signing Day brings the Trojans on Feb 1, they’ve already locked up their top recruit for 2012.

COLLEGE SICKNESS: Halfway Home!

As we hit the halfway point of the regular season, the national title picture is getting a bit clearer. The top 10 stayed the same in consecutive weeks for the first time since 2008. At the top, Oklahoma, Alabama, and LSU have all been ranked 1,2, or 3 at some point in the season. Boise State doesn’t look like they’ll lose anytime soon, so let the “little guy” argument begin in earnest. Coaching-wise, there were a few different names  on the hot seat as the season began. Let’s see where they stand now.

Mike Stoops: Well, I guess he’s no longer on the hot seat. He was the only coach in hotter water out West,  than UCLA’s head man. The axe fell on Stoops’ head after losing on the road to the hapless Oregon State Beavers. The Wildcats have lost 10 straight games to FBS(D1) schools, and there is no excuse for that when they boast one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. His major problem was a defense that ranked 115th in the country. NOt good when you’re a defensive minded head coach.

Rich Neuheisel: Speaking of UCLA’s head man. The Bruins have been up and down so far this year making it hard to get a true read on the direction of the program. One thing is sure, Neuheisel needs them to finish on the upswing. With Stoops gone in Arizona, Utah losing their starting quarterback, USC ineligible, and Colorado incapable, it looks like the Bruins have a shot to win the Pac12 South. Who would’ve thunk it?

Mark Richt: The buzzards were circling down between the hedges before the year began. It seems that Richt paid them no mind as he has the Bulldogs tied with South Carolina at the top of the SEC East. Before the season, I saw Georgia as dark horse due to their schedule, NO LSU, NO ALABAMA, and NO ARKANSAS. Unfortunately, that loss to the Gamecocks will loom large at the end of the year.

Heisman Frontrunners

This is what a runaway favorite looks like.

Andrew Luck: He started the season at the head of the list, and he’s still there now. The numbers are SICK, 73% comp, 1383 yards, 14 TDs and only 2 interceptions. Stanford sits atop the Pac12 North with an unblemished record, and it’s mostly due to Luck.

Trent Richardson: Does anyone in the country want to tackle this guy? Doesn’t look like it so far. He’s up to 729 yards rushing with  11 trips to the paint. He also has flashed big play ability catching the ball out of the backfield. If the Tide make it through the SEC, he’ll be hard to beat out for the hardware.

Robert Griffin III: Last year, he couldn’t get out of his own way. This season, he’s a different guy and a true leader. The Baylor Bears are rolling thanks to his 80% comp, 1500+ yards and 19 touchdowns. 19 TOUCHDOWNS passing in 5 games. They’d be undefeated if it wasn’t for a fluke pick to end the K-State game… his only pick of the year.

Russell Wilson: Wilson came to Madison with much fan fare after 3 years in Raleigh, NC. He hasn’t disappointed the Badgers faithful to this point. His numbers compare favorably to Luck’s: 75% comp, 1391 yards,13 TDs, and one lonely pick. His ability to get out of the pocket as well, makes Wisconsin almost impossible to stop.

Landry Jones: When you are the quarterback of one the best teams in the country, you make this list by default. His numbers have been solid, but not as spectaular as the rest. He still has a lot of chances to make an impact as the year trudges on. All eyes will be on the Bedlam Game against Oklahoma State at the end of the season.

Denard Robinson: You’d think that Shoelace is having a down year with the lack of pub that he’s getting this season compared to last. That’s not the case. This week he’ll top the 2000 yards mark in total offense, and should get to 20 touchdowns as well. He does have 9 picks on the year, so he’ll need some big wins down the stretch to really contend.

Conference Resets

Pac12: Preseason Pick: Oregon vs Utah. Clearly that was the kiss of death for the Utes. Utah hasn’t won a conference game yet. On the other hand, Arizona State has taken control of the Pac12 South. In the North, Stanford and Oregon continue to roll towards their Nov. 12th matchup. The winner of that game will sew up the title, and right now Andrew Luck is the best player in the land. Prediction: Stanford vs Arizona State. Winner: Stanford

SEC: Preseason Pick: South Carolina vs Alabama. The Tide certainly is holding up their end of the bargain, but they are being closely followed by the LSU Tigers. Can’t wait for those two teams to wrangle on Nov. 5th. South Carolina controls their destiny for a return trip to the Georgia Dome. Now that Stephen Garcia has been sent packing, they should see some more consistency from the quarterback position. The Gamecocks have to hope that Connor Shaw can stay healthy, because if not, they have no one with experience behind him. Prediction: Same. Winner: Alabama.

Big12: Preseason Pick: Oklahoma. Bob Stoops has not been the best front-running coach since he arrived in Norman, but this year has been different. Their defense is physical and Landry Jones has done a solid job, not only at home, but on the road as well. They’ve handled their two toughest tests so far, in Texas and Florida State. But their job isn’t done yet. Three of their last five games are on the road at Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State. If their defense can stay healthy, I like them to finish strong and win the Big 12, or whatever they’re calling it these days. Prediction: Same.

Big Ten: Preseason Pick: Wisconsin vs Nebraska. Russell Wilson and the Badgers dismantled the Cornhuskers when they met in Madison a couple of weeks ago. The Cornhuskers were able to shake off the hangover and rally to beat Ohio State last week. Both teams still have some tough games left on the schedule, but I have faith that Wisconsin will make it to Indy. Not so sure about Nebraska. Their passing game has failed them so far and that will be hard to overcome. The winner of this week’s Michigan/Michigan State game will have the inside track with no conference losses yet. Prediction: Wisconsin vs Michigan. Winner: Wisconsin.

ACC: Preseason Pick: Florida State vs Virginia Tech. You can thank Tahj Boyd and stud freshman Sammy Watkins for this one. They and the Clemson Tigers have beaten both the Seminoles and Hokies this season, giving them a stranglehold on the Atlantic Division. The questions is which Tech, Georgia or Virginia, do I like more in the Coastal Division? If Logan Thomas keeps playing the way he did against Miami, they’ll be fine. Georgia Tech can run it down your throat, but the passing game is suspect. Prediction: Clemson vs Virginia Tech. Winner: Clemson.

Big East: Preseason Pick: West Virginia. Rutgers has used a strong defense to get off to a quick start, and Oct. 29th we’ll see if they are for real when they host the Mountaineers. Barring something magical in New Brunswick, NJ, it’s all WVU all the time. No one in the conference has the athletes, offense, or defense to stop the Holgorsen machine. Prediction: Same.