We're getting Mel!
We had one of the best weekends of football, both college and NFL. We have a lot to discuss.
What is your take on Texas? Are they for real and will they win the national championship?
For real kind of goes week to week in college football. That's a term we use when they're coming off a big win. For real will be determined by how you come off the win. Texas will find that out now, how they turn from being the hunter to the hunted. What tells you if a team is for real is how you handle success. If you were playing Rice this week, you could bring your D game and still win. But Texas is playing Missouri. If they get by this game, they will have Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Oklahoma was the first of four games for Texas, four brutal games. This week will tell us if they're for real.
how high does Orakpo go in next years draft?
Orakpo is a gifted athlete. He has a 42 inch vertical. He bench presses the side of a mountain. He has good pass rush techinique. He's coming off an outstanding performance. To me, he's one of the top four seniors on the draft board. I think he's a potential top 10 pick in the first round.
If Florida State finishes the season with the one loss, what should their realistic expectations be considering they are not in the top 25 right now?
They're not in the top 25 because of the schedule. The one game that was against a true top echelon team was Wake and they lost that game at Tallahassee. They played 2 I-AA teams to start the season. They played Colorado, Miami. Right now the only team they've played that has a winning record is Wake and they lost. They have some tough games coming up. They have 7 games remaining. 4-3 is more than likely what they can expect to go. Anything better than that would be a major accomplishment.
Mel, thanks in advance for answering my question. Who are some of your most over-ranked teams in the top 15? In other words, contenders vs pretenders.
I still think the jury is still out on Alabama. They had the one big win against Georgia. They struggled against Kentucky. They didn't play well against Tulane. Their toughest game is against LSU the rest of the way. I don't think Alabama is as good as they're ranked. They're probably ranked higher than they probably should be. I think some of the teams behind them are better. Texas Tech is another team. They barely won on Saturday. They've played nobody of consequence. They have four tough games beginning Oct. 25. If they went 2-2 in those games, that would be a good accmplishment. They're probably a 10-2 team.
Against Kansas will be a good test. You can't be a top team and lose to Kansas. 10-2 would be a better year than they've had. They're getting better than that 8-4 that they've been doing. We'll see about Texas Tech. You shouldn't be life and death with Nebraska.
Utah and BYU, somebody's going to get knocked off there because they play each other on Nov. 22. That's a play-out game. LSU has to be very careful right now. They have some tough games coming up. They were beaten by Florida in a dominating fashion. To remain in the top 15 would be a tall order. This is a key game for them against S. Carolina.
Can maryland beat wake this weekend?
Maryland is one of the most unpredictable teams in the nation this year. They're inconsistent. Week to week, you don't know what you're going to get. They played an A game against Cal. They had an A game in the second half against Clemson when they rallied in the second half. They brought their C or D game against Middle Tenn. State, Delaware and Virginia. They were embarrassed by Virginia. I would expect a better game against Wake. They've had an extra week to get ready for Wake. I would expect Maryland to play a good game against Wake.
This is another one of those indicator games for Maryland. After this game you have to see if they can play consistent football.
This Penn State squad is perhaps the most complete I can remember in all my years of watching them. Considering their strength on offense and Defense, do you think they are the most complete team in all of college football?
I think what's helped them is that they are very balanced and they're a very athletic team. Plus, their schedule. That has worked out perfectly this year. They caught Oregon State at the right time. They caught Wisconsin, who has a disappointing year. PSU is a very good football team and their schedule has worked out beautifully. Now they have Michigan for homecoming. Then they play at Ohio State. That's the game, on Oct. 25 at Columbus is a playoff game for Penn State. If they lose that game, you're not playing for the national title.
Bigger disappointment - Detroit Lions or Michigan Wolverines?
I would say the Detroit Lions. Michigan was expected to struggle. They have a lot of young guys on the field. At best, I thought 6-6. They were an 8-4 team last year with all of that talent, so 6-6 wouldn't have been that bad. Right now, they look like a 4-8, 5-7 team. The Lions, you would have thought they would be better. The defense would be better. The WRs that they had. They didn't have a great draft, I gave them a C+, but you wouldn't think a rookie QB in Matt Ryan would handle them the way he did right away. They get dominated by the 49ers and have been beaten lately. You would have thought they wouldn't be where they are now. Matt Millen is gone, Marinelli's future is in doubt.
Neither one was that unpredictable, however. I thought maybe 6-10 for Detroit, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen.
Any thoughts on where Travis Beckum will end up next year? I have no clue what teams are looking for a speedy pass catching TE.
The thing is that you can utilize a player like Beckum, even if you have a player in the mix. He's kind of like a Dustin Keller player. The Jets have a TE, but they wanted a pass catching option. Beckum could be a Todd Heap, Dallas Clark, type of player. He's not a true, inline blocking TE. There will be a number of teams that will be looking at that kind of player. He's kind of a wild card.
Mel, what are the realistic chances of OU still getting to the title game after the heartbreaking loss last weekend?
It's going to be tough. First of all, you hardly have a chance to win the Big 12. Texas has to lose twice to have any chance of winning the Big 12. That loss was doubly brutal. Oklahoma doesn't have another game to make amends. There isn't a signature game. They get Kansas at home this week. Kansas is a good team, but it's at home and it's homecoming. They get Texas Tech at home. There is not another game where you say, Wow. It will be interesting this week against Kansas. It will either be in letdown mode or they'll be in an angry, hostile mood.
You have to take care of your own business and hope other teams lose. They're a longshot right now.
Looking back to last April, with whom were you on the mark and with whom did you miss?
It's still early. What you find is that some kids play well as rookies and then don't play after. Others don't play as rookies and come on in their second or third year. You have to be careful to not be too harsh or positive too early. Derrick Harvey hasn't had a sack, but he missed training camp. Vernon Gholston is struggling with the Jets. Most of the other guys are doing well so far. We have some guys that have surprised, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Mel, What are MSU's chances against OSU this weekend. I am not buying the spread. Vegas hasn't gotten it right many times against the Spartans.
Michigan State is a very well coached football team. Very sound fundamentally. They have the outstanding RBs. They have enough of a passing game. They have a shot. They're a team right now that you have to watch out for - a physical game. The days of Michigan State beating themselves aren't over, but they are not what they were. From that standpoint, that's how I would look at it. They're not the team from past years.
Who are your top rated safeties coming out and are there any difference makers?
Here are my top five: William Moore is the top guy. He's the elite safety in this draft. He was banged up early in the year. He's big, fast, tough. He's a top 10 pick. Then you have Nic Harris, Oklahoma; Derek Pegues, Miss. State; Patrick Chung, Oregon; Michael Hamlin, Clemson are your top senior safeties. Taylor Mays from USC is the top junior.
Will NFL teams shy away from Percy Harvin in the first round because of all his injury issues?
That's going to be factored into it. Size-wise, he has some issues. When you look at Darius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree who are physically gifted receivers, he lacks that size. But he's very versatile and great with the ball in his hands. He's one of the most explosive players in college football.
I heard Cutler say he arm is stronger then Elway but who did you have ranked as stronger arm as the combine?
The two strongest arms of any QBs that I've seen are Bert Jones and John Elway. I didn't think that Jay Cutler coming out had as good an arm as either of those two. Was it a big time arm? Yes. Was he hot and cold at Vanderbilt? Yes. I think people overly praise Cutler in some games that he's been inconsistent. I think there have been some games where he's been subject to bad play. He's been fortunate in some games. He was the third QB taken in the draft and I thought he should have been, but I said at that time that he went to the perfect place.
John Elway, in my opinion, is the greatest player to play the game.
with the way the gators played sat vs lsu is there anyone in college football tha can hang with them an with all the injuries to he dawgs who do u like in the east?
The offensive line played a lot better. I said going into last week's game that they were their own worst enemy. What prevented them from beating Ole Miss was their own mistakes. All those things came together. People tend to forget that one of their best offensive players Ingram is hurt. He would have been a key entity on that offense. Meyer doesn't have one of their best weapons. That was a big loss.
The Georgia game is the season for Florida right now. Win that game and you're right where you need to be.
what are the chances of USC getting to the title game?
I think it's a good chance. They are the one loss team with the best chance to play for the national title. you can also argue they're the best one-loss team. They beat OSU 35-3. That's a huge win, especially if OSU beats PSU. They don't have many other games that are tough. They should win out. Brian Cushing assured me and Freddie on our radio show on Saturday that USC will never again bring their D game. If PSU beats OSU, they probably go undefeated. USC needs OSU to beat them. USC could use some help from the Buckeyes.
There's been a lot of talk about the guys on GT's defensive line. Now they are good, but will they all be playing on Sundays?
Yes they will. Three of them will be. Johnson will be a high pick. Walker and Richard will be playing on Sunday. It's interesting when looking at that defense, Gary Guyton is a guy that I thought would go somewhere. He went undrafted last year and is now playing for New England.
With the coaching changes, what do you see happening with Clemson the rest of the year?
Based on what you heard, the comments that you heard from different players, they're 3-3 right now, this is a tough game for them coming up. Georiga Tech is a good football team. They're 5-1. I expect Clemson to be very fired up and emotional this week.
Clemson is 3-3 right now, if they go to 3-4, they could go to 3-6. But I do expect an inspired effort from Clemson.
Mel: Are there college coaches whose players are given an edge by NFL teams in the draft? In other words, coaches who teach skills well vs others who don't.
Some programs, like the Patriots and Bill Belichick know Pat Hill, we have seen them draft some Fresno State players. Sometimes you see that connection and familiarity that comes with a particular program. Certain teams look for certain players - more physical players and programs that relate to that. Normally, I don't see a lot of correlation there.
With Romo injured, do the Cowboys have any chance at all of winning the division?
Yeah. I think they can win the division. The one thing that can help the Cowboys is the Giants schedule. After the 49ers, their 10 remaining games are all that are very very difficult. There is not an easy game left. There is not one game where you say they're winning that game. The Giants better take care of business against the 49ers and go 5-1. The Cowboys, I think Brad Johnson is the type of QB that you can win with. Brad Johnson is a good solid back. The OL has to protect him in the pocket. He's not going to scramble around. The defense has some issues. But the schedule for the Cowboys is easier for the Giants. The Redskins have to regroup now after the loss, but their schedule is favorable. I think they can still win the division.
Hope we come back next week and are talking about another good weekend of college football and the NFL. That might be too much to ask after last week.