Sandler: Thoughts From The College, Pro Football Weekend

NCAA

Michigan State’s last offensive possession has to be the best drive by any team in college football all season and maybe dating back multiple seasons. Trailing an outstanding defense in a high-magnitude game needing a touchdown, they knock off NINE MINUTES AND FOUR SECONDS over TWENTY-TWO PLAYS. Unreal.

I’ve been near the front of the “Iowa is overrated” train and thought Michigan State would win by two possessions. Well, I was wrong about that and maybe I was wrong about Iowa. It’s just tough to gauge a team with a schedule that lacked challenges like Iowa’s.

The College Football Playoff Committee picked the correct four teams based on resume. With that said, I still think Ohio State is one of the four best teams in the country. Based on how the committee has worked, even with some of their perceived inconsistencies, there is no way the Buckeyes could wiggle into the playoff without upsets Saturday.

Love that the final seeding separates Oklahoma and Alabama. I think those are the two best of the bunch.

Oklahoma is my pick to win it all. I just have a tough time picking Alabama with their weak quarterback play out of Jacob Coker. Oklahoma’s defense is not as good as Bama’s, but they do have talent on that side of the ball with guys like Zack Sanchez and Eric Striker. And there’s something about Baker Mayfield. He makes plays and I think he’ll do that against the Bama D if given the opportunity.

Clemson will be a really fun matchup, though. Oklahoma has struggled in the past against quarterbacks with the playmaking ability like Deshaun Watson.

Interesting win for Texas versus Baylor. They got up early before Baylor lost Chris Johnson but let Baylor back in the game without a quarterback. The Bears moved a wide receiver, Lynx Hawthorne, to the QB spot and often times ran plays without a QB in the backfield, yet, Texas had some issues with it.

What did Will Muschamp do to earn another head coaching job so quickly? In his first season as Auburn’s defensive coordinator, the defensive genius made that group worse compared to their numbers from the previous season. Now, I’m not saying he’s a total putz, but it’s weird that a fired head coach can get a coordinator gig, do a poor job, and then get hired by a major-conference program immediately.

I’m very curious what type of pro Christian McCaffrey will be, but I’m confident he will be a very productive one. That’s getting ahead of the matter, though, because he’ll be one of the Heisman favorites leading into the 2016 season.

 

NFL

I’m not sold on Teddy Bridgewater as anything more than a solid starting quarterback. Not sure if I can buy stock in him as a franchise-building star or whatever kool-aid people are drinking on him.

The 12-0 Panthers or the 7-5 Seahawks: who are you taking in a neutral site game? That’s not to discredit the Panthers in any way. They are a very good team. With that said, it seems like the Seahawks are figuring some things out and looking more like the team that went to the Super Bowl each of the last two seasons.

The Steelers are one of my three favorite teams to watch in the NFL with the way they just let the ball rip all over the field. If they make the playoffs, it will be as a wild card and that’s a team I’d love to avoid if I was in the AFC.

Random: I think it is funny that there are two teams who have a same-name QB-TE combo. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and Richard Rodgers, which earns points over Russell Wilson and Luke Willson because of the extra “L” in Luke’s name.

Ranking the QB’s drafted over the last two seasons (in order): Jameis, Carr, Mariota, and Bridgewater (then everyone else).

Entering Monday Night’s matchup between the Cowboys (3-8) and the Redskins (5-6), not a single NFC East team is .500 or better. Unreal.

Arizona continues to impress me. If you’ve followed my thoughts all year, I’ve been very high on this group. How about this for their defense? Todd Gurley had a 34-yard run. Take that away and he carried the ball eight times for seven yards.

Speaking of the Cardinals, which receiving corps would you rather have: Larry Fitzgerald-Michael Floyd-John Brown or Antonio Brown-Martavis Bryant-Markus Wheaton?

Rex Ryan has made a career out of building great defenses but stymying his own offenses and quarterbacks, specifically. But, you know what? He seems to be doing okay offensively with this group and I think he’s done a nice job with Tyrod Taylor.

I never thought Cam Newton would be good enough in the NFL. A part of it was how the skill set would translate, mainly his accuracy, and the other part was his character and maturity. I was wrong on both. I continue to be impressed when I hear him talk, especially when he reflects on the mistakes he made regarding his maturity, or lack thereof, when he was younger.

Throwout the resumes. Here is my weekly NFL Top 5 (in order): New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos.

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