Friday, August 21, 2009

Update on Big Herb

A lot of people have been paying close attention to how the five Frogs taken in April's NFL Draft have been doing in training camp. That would've especially been the case for Herb Taylor's first year with the Kansas City Chiefs two years ago, except that HBO wasted my time by never spending a second of time focusing on him in that year's edition of Hard Knocks (just like they haven't shown Gator at all so far this year as they document the Bungals' camp).

Well, according to Scout.com, Herb is making some real strides entering his third year in the league. They included the following in their write-up on the Chiefs this morning:

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Damion McIntosh vs. Herb Taylor at right tackle. It looks like the Chiefs may have a good battle going on at this spot. McIntosh is a veteran who started all 16 games there last season. Taylor is a third-year man who received minimal playing time over his first two seasons with the club. McIntosh, who has knees that have taken a pounding over 10 years in the league, is not very fluid in handling pass rushers, especially those with a speed move outside. The quicker Taylor has been given more time with the No. 1 offense during practice, although McIntosh started the first preseason game.

That's good news, and since I made him chuckle one time in our Topics of Math class at TCU, this pretty much makes me famous, too.

Quest for Respect: Part II

Because the Mountain West made so much progress last year toward getting the national respect it deserves, this coming football season is vital in showing that 2008 wasn't a fluke, but was just the beginning for this up & coming league. The best way to polish the MWC's image is for the 9 schools in it to win as many games against non-conference opponents as possible. On Wednesday, we took a look at the OOC schedules of Air Force, BYU, Colorado State and New Mexico. Today, the rest of the conference:


San Diego State:
Sep 5: @ UCLA
Sep 12: Southern Utah
Sep 19: @ Idaho
Oct 3: New Mexico State

I can't figure out why San Diego State isn't good at football. It's a big state university in large metropolitan area that produces about as many talented football players as any other it's size. In that way, it's a lot like U of H...if Houston didn't suck and was on the beach. Back to the point though ,the UCLA game is obviously the one they've got circled, considering they've never beaten the Bruins in any of their 21 chances to- although they did tie them back in 1924. I'm not sure I see them breaking that streak this year. The Aztecs provided the MWC with perhaps it's most embarrassing moment last year when they lost at home to Cal Poly, a Division I-AA school, in their season-opener. With new coach Brady Hoke coming over from Ball State, though, you'd have to think they'd be an improved team this fall and it looks like they're set up to go 3-1 out of conference. That would be a huge boost for the league, considering SDSU was the main culprit in dragging down the strength of schedule ratings for the teams on top.

UNLV:
Sep 5: Sacramento State
Sep 12: Oregon State
Sep 19: Hawaii
Oct 3: @ Nevada

UNLV is the trendy pick to be the Mountain West's surprise team this year, and most publications have predicted them to finish either 4th or 5th in the conference. They scored two surprise overtime wins over BCS teams last year, stunning then- #15 Arizona State on the road and then a week later against Iowa State in Vegas. Only a disappointing loss to San Diego State in the season's final weekend kept the Rebels from being the conference's 6th bowl team. The two big games on their OOC schedule this fall are the home date against Oregon State and a trip to Reno to take on their arch-rivals, Nevada. Being that the Rebels were one of the country's most inconsistent team's a year ago, 2-2 is probably a safe bet here.

Utah:
Sep 3: Utah State (Thurs)
Sep 12: @ San Jose State
Sep 19: @ Oregon
Sep 26: Louisville

The Utes ought to shoot out of the gate 2-0, which will run their nation's-best win streak to 16 games, but then come two very important games not only for Utah, but for the entire MWC. First is the trip to Eugene, where Oregon is very tough to beat- especially if you're breaking in a new QB like the Utes will be. That game is important, too, because the Ducks also happen to be the highest-profile non-conference opponent of Boise State, so the national media will clearly be drawing comparisons there. Next is a home game against Louisville, which represents the Mountain West's lone game against the Big East this year. GOT to win that one, Utah! I see them taking care of the Cardinals and having a good shot at beating Oregon to possibly enter conference play 4-0.

Wyoming:
Sep 5: Weber State
Sep 12: Texas
Sep 19: @ Colorado
Oct 3: @ Florida Atlantic

Wait, WHAT?!?!? So Texas, who uses the excuse of our stadium size as their reason to not play at TCU, is willing to play at Central Florida, UTEP and now WYOMING but won't come to Fort Worth? There's no way around calling that what it is, which is complete bullshit. Anyways, the Longhorns will probably have their way with Wyoming. The trip to Boulder probably won't be an easy task for the Cowboys and new coach Dave Christensen, either- although they did beat Tennesse in Knoxville last year. Clearly, a win against either of those Big 12 teams would be huge, but the most vital game on their OOC slate might be the road game against Florida Atlantic. Travelling across the country can be tough, so you've got to hope Wyoming is able to avoid any distractions in that trip and not end up with a long, embarrassing flight home after losing to a Sun Belt team.

Morning Dump

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