By: Matt Kroeger
It’s so hard for me to care about college football. I’ve written about this before on Ducks on the Wire, but it never ceases to amaze me how little enthusiasm I have for the sport. I realize it is entirely due to the BCS, but even still, I have trouble sitting through full games. Don’t get me wrong: there are some fantastic teams with fantastic players who play each other in fantastic games. I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I just have no passion for it.
Granted, I go to Xavier University. WE HAVE NO FOOTBALL TEAM. So I’m sure I’m missing something key here. Regardless, I have been a Notre Dame fan (and also root for other Indiana and Big Ten teams) my whole life. Even when ND was good, I found it difficult to care for them as much as I cared about the Colts. I chalk it up to the BCS, again, but there is definitely more to it.
Watching the NFL is exponentially better than watching college games. It has a faster pace, the best players, exciting offense and defense with better execution. The teams retain a long-term identity, whereas college players only stay for four years at a time, if that long. Sure, there’s the whole allegiance aspect of the college game with the rooting for your school and the student section experience, but it’s not like the same doesn’t exist at the professional level. People are just as strongly bonded to their NFL team as they are to their college team.
For me, it’s perplexing, because if you look at college basketball, the game (at least to me) competes just as well with the NBA. Maybe it’s the postseason setup (March Madness is like Leo DiCaprio while all the bowl games are like Hayden Christensen). Still, football is football. The media covers college just as liberally as they do the NFL. So why doesn’t college football do it for me!? SOMEONE EXPLAIN IT TO ME! I genuinely want to fix this because I SHOULD like college football. Feel free to leave some comments below.
And now, here are some players that used to play in college, who are either going to play awesomely or terribly for week 7 of the NFL season. Let’s go!
QB: Colt McCoy (CLE). I loved how well the guy played against the league’s best defense in week 6. In his first start, no less. The Browns have been stuck with a garbage man at quarterback for an eternity now. Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace were definitely not going to instill the fear of God in anyone. Actually, Jake the Flake was about as threatening as a paraplegic ladybug. McCoy, though, looked solid against the Steelers. He’s facing the Saints in week 7, who should jump out to a big lead. McCoy will be asked to throw the ball in order to make up ground—the perfect fantasy storm for bad quarterbacks. I like Colt’s chances. Plus, it just seems inevitable that a person with such an awesome name—COLT MCCOY—would succeed.
Other options: Brett Favre (MIN), Philip Rivers (SD), Carson Palmer (CIN)
(Last week: Brady vs. BAL…27-44, 292 yds, 1 td, 2 int)
RB: Ryan Mathews (SD). So much for my rookie of the year pick. Mathews has been an unbelievable disappointment given the expectations. Granted, he’s been battling injuries, and the Chargers have been equally embarrassing as a team, but Mathews has not measured up. Luckily, the Bolts play a porous Patriots defense and hopefully can get the offense back on track. Mathews should play a key role, especially if Rivers is without some of his big-play receivers.
Other options: Adrian Peterson (MIN), Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG), Peyton Hillis (CLE)
(Last week: Steven Jackson vs. SD…29 rush, 109 yds, 1 td)
WR/TE: Jason Witten (DAL). Giants @ Cowboys is an interesting game. The Boys are fighting for their lives while the Giants are riding high. The Boys have everything to prove while the Giants have already shown what they can do. Plus, the game is being played in Dallas, so I see the Cowboys coming out and having a serious statement game. Will it be too little too late? Probably. I still have loads of doubt for this team, but I think they’ll show us this week why they were so hyped entering the year. As for Witten, he’s had a pedestrian season so far, but if Romo is clicking, the big tight end should be involved.
Other options: Brandon Marshall (MIA), Jordan Shipley (CIN), Malcolm Floyd (SD)
(Last week: Ward/Miller (combined) vs. CLE…7 rec, 107 yds, 2 td)
QB: Matt Hasselbeck (SEA). Nothing about the Cardinals is sexy. Max Hall? Beanie Wells? Arian Wilson? The only stud they have is Larry Fitzgerald, and he even flies under the radar somehow. Unfortunately for him, the Cards offense is horrendous, ranking near the bottom of the barrel for every statistical category. Still, the Cards have impossibly managed to scrounge three wins together, one of which was against New Orleans where they shut down Drew Brees. But we aren’t talking about the Cardinals. We’re talking about Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks. Well, as bad as the Cardinals are offensively, the Hawks are similarly atrocious. And if the Cardinals (coming off a bye week I might add) can bring the same intensity towards shutting down the pass as they did against the Saints, it’ll be a long night for Hasselbeck.
Other options: Kyle Orton (DEN), Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), Carson Palmer (CIN)
(Last week: Ryan vs. PHI…23-43, 250 yds, 2 td, 1 int)
RB: Rashard Mendenhall (PIT). This is sort of a reverse jinx as I have Mendenhall on my primary fantasy team, but I think the Roethlisberger return affects him the most out of any other Steeler. Whereas Hines Ward and Heath Miller may see bumps in their production, Mendenhall’s stats could very easily drop. Don’t get me wrong—he’s had a fantastic year thus far (6th in rushing, 5 TDs). What worries me is that when Roethlisberger is under center, the Steelers become a pass-first team as we’ve seen in the past. Owners can breathe a temporary sigh of relief following his week 6 performance as Rashard still was handed 27 carries against the Browns, but it is very temporary. However, the Dolphins boast a top 10 defense against both the run and pass, and I have a (terrified) feeling that Tomlin will let Big Ben air it out more often than not, leaving Rashard to blocking duty.
Other options: Michael Turner (ATL), LeSean McCoy (PHI), Brandon Jackson (GB)
(Last week: Best vs. NYG…12 rush, 16 yds, 6 rec, 31 yds, fumble lost)
WR: Randy Moss (MIN). Just because he has to have that bad game that initiates his Cry Baby self, and it might as well be this week. The Packers need this game just as much as the Vikings do, and I have a feeling we will see the flashy Green Bay team we expected at the beginning of the year. The Vikings, on the other hand, will flip back to their Favre-induced, comatose offense. Sorry Randy.
Other options: Lance Moore (NO), Michael Crabtree (SF), Todd Heap (BAL)
(Last week: Lloyd vs. NYJ…4 rec, 74 yds)