When The Going Gets Tough, Urban Meyer Gets Going

Urban Meyer has led two programs to national championships and left both due to “health issues”. Joe Nicely takes a look at his career and future

When the news broke last week that Urban Meyer would be retiring from his position as the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes due to “health issues”, I wasn’t very surprised. As a lifelong fan of the University of Tennessee, I was familiar with Meyer from his time at the University of Florida. The arc of Meyer’s tenure and exit from Columbus, seemed eerily similar to his time at Florida and his first “retirement” from football seven years ago.

Meyer’s ability is undeniable and he is without question one of the greatest college football coaches of his generation. He has won three national championships, two at Florida and one at Ohio St. His offensive concepts have helped to revolutionize the game and his tenacity on the recruiting trail is legendary. However, longevity has never been Meyer’s strong suit. While he is excellent at building programs and winning championships, Meyer’s drive to win has often caused problems that he doesn’t bother hanging around to deal with.

Bowling Green

After working his way up the college football ranks as an assistant, Meyer landed his first head coaching job at Bowling Green in 2001. He was immediately successful. Meyer turned around a Bowling Green squad that had gone 2-9 in 2000, finishing his first season at 8-3. Bowling Green played well in Meyer’s second season, going 9-3 in 2002. It should be noted that Meyer had a walk-on player named Zach Smith at Bowling Green, the grandson of his mentor, former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce. This is also when the groundwork was laid for what would become Meyer’s offensive attack. His use of an athletic QB named Josh Harris was the precursor to how he would utilize QBs in the future. Which takes us to Meyer’s next stop…

Utah

After his successful, but brief, stay at Bowling Green, Meyer bolted for the University of Utah in 2003. It was here that Meyer would find the player to make his innovative offensive scheme take flight, Alex Smith. Smith’s unique blend of athleticism and traditional throwing ability made him the perfect fit for Meyer’s shotgun-based version of the West Coast offense colliding with the option. Meyer and Smith hit the ground running, leading Utah to a conference championship and a 10-2 record. Things really started humming in 2004, Meyer’s second season in Salt Lake City. Led by the play of Smith, Meyer’s Utes went a perfect 11-0 and earned a BCS bid into the Fiesta Bowl, where they defeated Pittsburgh to finish 12-0. This season was pivotal to Meyer’s career for a couple of reasons. Utah’s ability to breakthrough the BCS “glass ceiling” that had been in place against mid-major programs for years gained the team and Meyer national exposure. The success of Meyer’s offense with Smith at QB signaled a seismic shift in the way the college game was played. With Smith heading off to become the number one pick in the upcoming NFL draft, Meyer once again decided to leave for greener pastures after just a two-year stop at Utah. It would mark the last time he left a program on a high note.

Florida

Rather than face the upcoming season without Smith, Meyer decided to take his talents to Gainesville. This was the game changer. Meyer’s decision to accept Florida’s offer of $14 million for seven years in 2005, kick started the trend of mid-major coaches jumping to traditional powerhouse programs for huge money, a trend that still exists in today’s world of college football. This is also a good point to stop and appreciate just how meteoric Meyer’s rise was. He went from coaching wide receivers at Notre Dame in 2000 to accepting a $14 million head coaching offer from an SEC powerhouse in 2005, while never spending more than two years at the same school along the way. (Meyer was also offered the head coaching job at Notre Dame after Utah’s perfect season, but chose Florida). One noteworthy hire that Meyer made after accepting the Florida job in 2005, was a young graduate assistant by the name of Zach Smith, his former player from Bowling Green. Concerns about Meyer’s offense working in the SEC were quickly laid to rest, as the Gators went 9-3 in his first season.

Meyer’s second season with the Gators in 2006 was remarkable for two reasons; he won his first national championship with a 13-1 record and it was Tim Tebow’s freshman year at Florida. Though the Gators were primarily quarterbacked by Chris Leak throughout the season, Tebow became a national phenomenon. Just has he had upgraded from Josh Harris at Bowling Green to Alex Smith at Utah, Meyer found what would be the final step of the QB evolution in Tebow at Florida.

On the heels of his national championship win, Meyer was able to recruit at an elite level. He had access to athletes the caliber of which he had never seen at Bowling Green and Utah. Two such athletes that Meyer had doggedly recruited as part of the incoming 2007 freshman class were Cam Newton and Aaron Hernandez. Meyer believed he had found his next quarterback prodigy in Newton and his pursuit of Hernandez was fervent. After convincing Hernandez to abandon his hometown choice of the University of Connecticut, Meyer flew to Bristol to personally persuade Hernandez’s high school principal to let him graduate a semester early in order to enroll early at Florida. Both Newton and Hernandez will play key roles in Meyer’s successes and failures at Florida.

The Gators offense continued to roll in 2007, well enough for Tim Tebow to win the Heisman Trophy. However, Florida struggled on the defensive side of the ball and finished with a 9-4 record after a bowl game loss to Michigan.

Meyer’s fourth season with Florida in 2008 was a harbinger of what was to come in his career…excellence on the field, with chaos off it. With Tebow taking a physical pounding in 2007, Meyer announced prior to the upcoming season that sophomore Cam Newton would share time at QB in order to help lessen the toll on Tebow. The Gators 2008 season opener against Hawaii would serve as an interesting microcosm for the upcoming years ahead. Newton came into the game, only to quickly suffer an ankle injury that would sideline him indefinitely, while Hernandez (along with stars Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes) watched from the Florida bench as “secret punishment” for failed drug tests. As the Gators chomped-up opponents on Saturdays, they were dealt a major blow off the field when the injured Newton was arrested in November on felony charges for stealing a laptop from a fellow student. Meyer suspended the already-injured Newton and the charges were eventually dropped after Newton completed a pre-trial diversion program. Hernandez made his way back onto the field after the one-game suspension, starting 11 of 13 games and playing a key role in Florida’s run to a second national championship under Meyer. Days before they defeated Oklahoma for the national championship, Cam Newton announced that he would be transferring out of the program. News later surfaced that Newton faced expulsion from the University of Florida due to academic dishonesty, though there had been no form of discipline handed down by Meyer for any issues.

The 2009 season would mark the beginning of the end to Meyer’s career at Florida. With graduate assistant Zach Smith arrested for aggravated battery on a pregnant woman in June of 2009 (which Meyer later admitted to knowing about), Hernandez repeatedly failing drug tests, and Tebow entering his senior season with his heir apparent Newton now gone…things were reaching a boiling point for Meyer’s program off the field. The team played well, going 12-0 in the regular season. However, the Gators were defeated by an up-and-coming Alabama program in the SEC Championship. The loss would prove to be a true changing of the guard in the conference. Just hours after the 32-13 drubbing at the hands of the Crimson Tide, Meyer was admitted into a Gainesville hospital due to chest pains and dehydration. Due to the health scare, Meyer announced his resignation from the University of Florida on December 26, 2010. However, in a preview of the public flip-flops that would happen later in his career, Meyer reversed his position just a day later and announced that he would take an indefinite leave of absence rather than resigning. He would coach the team to a Sugar Bowl victory before taking some time off.

Meyer resumed full-time coaching duties in March of 2010 in preparation for what would be his final season in Gainesville. With the public (the handling of the Newton issue and his resignation/leave of absence) and private (Zach Smith’s arrest and Hernandez’s behavior and drug problems) issues of the previous year still looming around the program, the Gators struggled. Tebow’s graduation and Hernandez’s forced departure to the NFL draft left huge holes for the team. Florida’s talent level seemed sub-par and it’s offensive scheme looked stale. The Gators finished the season 7-5, Meyer’s worst record as a head coach. With the program seemingly headed downhill, Meyer again resigned his position in December of 2010, this time for real, and again cited health issues. Meyer’s stint at Florida was undoubtedly successful on the field and troubling off it. He won two national championships, but had 31 of his players arrested during his time at Florida. Meyer’s disciplinary style during his time at Florida could be described as “kinder and gentler” toward star players. His handling, or lack thereof, of both Hernandez’s and Smith’s off the field behavior issues are disturbing and would impact several lives down the road.

Ohio State

Less than a year after his resignation from the University of Florida, Meyer was suddenly cured of any health issues when he accepted the head coaching position and a contract worth over $25 million at Ohio State University in November 2011. While the roster he left behind at Florida was full of undisciplined players with mediocre talent (Florida failed to have an All-SEC player in its first season after Meyer left), the Buckeyes’ cupboard was fully stocked, thanks to former coach Jim Tressel. Though Meyer inherited a postseason ban in his first year, the Ohio State program was full of NFL-caliber players and, perhaps most importantly, played in a conference that didn’t have an Alabama juggernaut to contend with. Despite having a clean slate in Columbus, one of Meyer’s decisions upon receiving the job, was to bring in his old player and GA Zach Smith to coach wide receivers. Meyer knew about Smith’s arrest for assaulting his then-pregnant wife in 2009, why he would bring aboard Smith and all of his baggage is anyone’s guess, but it would prove to be a mistake of epic proportions. You also have to wonder who at Ohio State was vetting Meyer and his staff. It didn’t take a licensed private eye to find out some of the things that had been going on at Florida on Meyer’s watch and Smith’s history alone should have thrown up a red flag. It shows that, despite coming off an embarrassing scandal under coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State was focused solely on winning football games. As is often the case, it takes two to tango.

Just has he had at every stop of his career, Meyer hit the ground running. Coaching Jim Tressel’s players, Meyer led the Buckeys to a 12-0 record in 2012. While the program was still on a postseason ban, one thing was clear: Urban Meyer was back.

After going 12-2 in 2013, Meyer would win his third national championship in the 2014 season. Powered by future NFL stars like Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa, the Buckeyes defeated Oregon in the national championship game to finish at 14-1. It solidified Meyer’s greatness in the college game and earned him “living legend” status.

Following the 2014 championship season, Meyer and the Buckeyes would continue to dominate the Big Ten conference and arch-rival Michigan. Meyer had seemed to learn at least one lesson from his time at Florida and managed to keep his players out of trouble in Columbus, but 2015 would bring up some familiar issues from one of his assistant coaches. In late October of 2015, wide receivers coach Zach Smith was involved in domestic violence and felonious assault charges with his wife Courtney. Less than a month later in November of 2015, Courtney Smith filed charges of stalking against Zach with police. In both instances, no charges were filed and Smith faced no disciplinary action from neither Meyer nor Ohio State for the incidents.

With Meyer continuing to win big and Smith still on the staff, everything seemed hunky-dory in Columbus. The Buckeyes captured another Big Ten championship in 2017 and were primed to be a national championship contender in the upcoming 2018 season. Then, Big Ten media days happened…

In an attempt to cut off a pending news story that Zach Smith had been arrested for domestic violence-related charges in 2009 and 2015 at the pass, Meyer fired Smith on July 23 2018, one day before appearing at the Big Ten media days in Chicago on July 24. News of the firing broke before Meyer’s press conference and it only raised more difficult questions for the coach to address. Things did not go well. Meyer admitted to having knowledge of the 2009 incident involving Smith while they were at Florida, but denied any knowledge of the 2015 incident. This is where things went off the rails for the coach who had perfected the art of turning a blind eye to problems within his program.

Brett McMurphy led the charge on this story and his reporting throughout this period was absolutely top-notch. Shortly after Meyer denied knowing of the 2015 incident at his press conference, McMurphy reported that the actual 2015 police report had been altered by the Powell Police Department and that both Urban Meyer’s wife Shelley and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith had knowledge of the 2015 Smith incident. How did McMurphy know this? He had “the receipts”, in the form of a series of text messages between Courtney Smith and Shelley Meyer. Not to mention, Zach Smith himself admitting that AD Smith had pulled him off a 2015 recruiting trip after learning of the matter.

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave on August 1 in order to “investigate” the matter. The ensuing investigation and its findings proved to be a joke of epic proportions, with Meyer using the old faithful “health issues” as an excuse for all his errors big and small. The powers that be at Ohio State, either due to blatant ignorance or in a poorly disguised attempt to protect their beloved football program (Hint: It’s the latter), decided to issue a three-game suspension to Meyer and a slap on the wrist to AD Smith on August 22 of 2018.

After going 3-0 under interim coach Ryan Day, Ohio State welcomed Meyer back and went on to a 12-1 season. Following a victory in the Big Ten championship game, but after being denied a bid into the College Football Playoff, the 54-year-old Meyer announced his retirement from coaching on December 4, citing, you guessed it, his old pal health issues as the reason and essentially bailing on a university that risked its credibility to keep him as their football coach.

Looking Back & Moving Forward

Urban Meyer is a talented football coach, I’m not here to argue that point, but he his definitely a coach with flaws. You can’t blame Meyer for quickly climbing the career ladder. Leaving Bowling Green and Utah for bigger, higher-paying jobs isn’t something to find fault in, but it is interesting that Meyer never really had to deal with the long-term complications of running a program during his two-year stays at each school. His ability to do that would be tested at the University of Florida and it was a test that he failed miserably. Meyer’s “look the other way” attitude when it came to Florida’s star players created core problems and inhibited his ability to sustain long-term success for the program, not to mention the impact it had on the lives of his players and staff. When Meyer saw the Gators’ ship going down, both on and off the field, he quickly jumped off and left the university to clean up the mess.

Meyer’s move to Ohio State after being out of coaching for less than a year, confirmed that his “health issues” were bogus. His decision to bring Zach Smith into the fold in Columbus was both in-character for Meyer and reckless for Ohio State. While he seemed to learn from some of his mistakes at Florida, and kept his Buckeye players out of trouble for the most part, Meyer’s drive to win and his ego proved to be his ultimate downfall. When enough folks refer to you as a living legend, you start believing it and Meyer began to feel that he could do whatever he wanted with “his guys”, like Zach Smith. The sad part of the story, is that Meyer was actually right…he could do whatever he wanted, as Ohio State’s sham of an investigation and decision to only suspend him proved.

So why leave now? With his suspension already served, why did Meyer bail on an Ohio State program that risked its very credibility to keep him? The answer is as complicated as Urban Meyer’s personality, but it boils down to his inability to deal with the consequences of his actions. Will he coach again? I have no doubt that he will. Brian Kelly better continue to win…and sleep with one eye open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NCAAF Conference Championship Picks ATS

The Rowdy Sports Guys JB, El President, and Nice Guy Joe share their Week 14 NCAAF Conference Championships Picks ATS

TGIF, especially one with two Conference Championship games to enjoy. We here at The Combine like to gamble, so we decided to share that passion with the readers. For Week 14, we’re rolling with picks from our very own RowdyRotoJB, ElPresidenteJosh, and Nice Guy Joe. Here is the final product:

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The Majority Picks

  1. Washington (-6.0)
  2. Texas (+8.0)
  3. Oklahoma vs Texas – Over 78.0
  4. Appalachian State (-16.5)
  5. App State vs UL-Lafeyette – Under 58.0
  6. Middle Tennessee State  (-1.5)
  7. MTSU vs UAB – Over 44.0
  8. Memphis (+3.0)
  9. Georgia (+14.0)
  10. Alabama vs Georgia – Under 64.0
  11. Boise State vs Fresno State – Under 53.0
  12. Clemson vs Pittsburgh –  Over 53.0
  13. Ohio State (-15.0)
  14. Ohio State vs Northwestern – Over 61.0

The Unanimous TOP ROWDY PICKS of Week 14

  1. Buffalo (-3.0)
  2. Buffalo vs Northern Illinois –  Over 51.0
  3. Washington vs Utah – Over 45.0
  4. UCF vs Memphis – Under 64.0
  5. Boise State (-3.0)
  6. Clemson (-28.0)

 

Opinions are like butts, everyone’s got one. So what are your thoughts on the picks? Who is going to finish Saturday with the highest percentage? Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter!

Tuesday Morning Tilt – Week 13

Joe Nicely digs into the Cleveland Browns, Dwight Howard, and Thanksgiving in an all-new Tuesday Morning Tilt.

What’s up guys? Welcome to Tuesday Morning Tilt here at The Combine, where I talk about some interesting things that happened over the weekend, both in life and sports. Couple of real cool topics this week, let’s dive in!

No Pressure Cleveland

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I think the Cleveland Browns have finally found their “Franchise Quarterback” in Baker Mayfield. The brash rookie was dealing Sunday against the Bengals, destroying Cincy and giving the Browns their first road win in like 27 years or something. There are a couple of things I want to dive into here, but the most important message I want to get across is…DON’T FUCK THIS UP CLEVELAND!

The Browns have drafted and drafted and traded and drafted and signed free agents, pretty much everything you can think of in their seemingly eternal search for a QB to build around. Mayfield looks the part and appears to be a legit long-term solution. The question now is what to do once you’ve found your savior QB?

It gives me some hope for the future of the Browns that they were willing to fire Hue Jackson mid-season. It seems that Cleveland GM John Dorsey and the front office realize what they have in Mayfield and decided they didn’t want Jackson screwing him up, not even for the rest of this season, and sent him packing. Smart decision.

The decision on who to hire as Jackson’s replacement will be the most important one the Browns organization makes in the next decade. They have “their guy” at the QB position, but as we’ve seen with players like Jared Goff and Mitch Trubisky, the right coach can make all the difference in the world. Do the Browns go with a young, offensive wizard that’s never been a head coach? Do they go with a veteran coach that knows the ropes and can provide a steady presence?

The thing that makes this coaching search different than the many the Browns have went through in the past, is that this time the Cleveland job is actually desirable. Coaches that are available or even unavailable, have to look at the Browns job as a great opportunity. Cleveland not only has Mayfield, but they have surprisingly drafted really well the past couple of years. Players like Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb are legitimate talents that a new coach can build around. Assuming the Browns don’t keep interim HC Gregg Williams (they shouldn’t), let’s take a look at five possible Cleveland coaching candidates.

1. Lincoln Riley – Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. Riley is currently the head coach at the University of Oklahoma and mentored Mayfield to the Heisman Trophy and becoming the number one overall pick. It makes sense. Sean McVay’s success with the Rams has NFL teams willing to take a chance on younger coaches. Riley is 35-years-old and would certainly be an exciting hire that’s familiar with offensive concepts that should allow Mayfield to flourish.

2. Freddie Kitchens – Kitchens was brought in as a running backs coach for Cleveland this past offseason and was promoted to interim Offensive Coordinator when Jackson and Todd Haley were fired. He has done well with the Cleveland offense and Mayfield. The Browns have averaged 28 points per game since Kitchens was promoted and Mayfield has looked unrestrained and confident with the playcalling. It’s a small sample size and Kitchens has no head coaching experience. He comes from the Bruce Arians coaching tree, which brings us to our next possibility…

3. Bruce Arians – Man, I love Bruce Arians. He’s one of the few NFL head coaches that actually seems like a good dude that you could hang out with. Arians loves Cleveland and has already publicly stated that it’s the only job he would come out of retirement for. He’s had tremendous success with QB’s throughout his career, including Big Ben, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer’s renaissance in Arizona. Arians is 66, so it would limit the window for success to possibly 3-4 years.

4. The “Hot” Coordinator At The End Of The Season – These are the guys that pop-up every year and fill a ton of coaching vacancies in the NFL. They are coordinators who really stand out and perhaps help their team make a deep run in the playoffs. You’ll here names like Josh McDaniels and John DeFilippo talked about. You will also probably here about coaches that are connected to both the Chiefs and Rams. Keep in mind that Browns GM John Dorsey came from Kansas City.

5. A Coach That Is Currently Coaching An NFL Team – We all know that the NFL is the ultimate recycling bin. Once you’ve been a head coach, it makes it easier to get another gig. While Cleveland fans probably don’t want an also-ran, this offseason could see some long-tenured coaches part ways with their teams. Baltimore’s John Harbaugh has stayed successful, but appears to be close to ending his run with the Ravens. Ditto for Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, though I don’t know why you’d hire a guy that can’t win it all with Aaron Rodgers.

6. Bob Wylie – Because Bob Wylie RULES! If the next coach Cleveland hires doesn’t keep this national treasure on the staff, it’s instant bad mojo for them. SET HUT!

 

Dwight Howard…

Ok, what the actual fuck??? Let me be clear in saying that I don’t care what Dwight Howard or anyone else does in their private relationships, but this is some wild shit! I honestly had to Google what cisgender means and I’m still not sure I understand.

What I find interesting about this whole thing is, what kind of effect has Howard’s private life has had on his playing career? It seems like forever ago that Howard was thought to be a once-in-a-generation talent. This guy was the Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years and took the freaking Orlando Magic to The Finals! Howard was a defensive beast and posted roughly 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game in his last season in Orlando.

The Magic traded Howard to the Lakers in 2012 and his career was never the same. In what should have been a dream pairing, he clashed badly with Kobe Bryant and never flourished in L.A. Howard headed to Houston after just one season with the Lakers. He has since played for FOUR OTHER TEAMS, for one season each!

What happened? Has Howard kept moving from city to city in order to limit the chances of him being outed or exposed? Did Kobe know what was up all those years ago in L.A.? Has the emotional weight of this secret crippled Howard’s play on the court? I have so many questions! Mostly because I’ve always been curious how a player that was that great and dominant in Orlando, became just another “good” NBA center.

This is just another reminder that we really don’t know these people. From MJ’s massive gambling habits to Tiger’s serial womanizing, we have no idea what these guys are doing off the playing field. It kind of makes you appreciate Charles Barkley’s honesty years ago when he came out and said, “I am not a role model.”

 

The Giving of Thanks & The Not Giving of Fucks

Of course, last week was Thanksgiving, which means the holidays are upon us. Is there a more stressful time of the year? It’s crunch time fellas. Remember when you used to look forward to the holidays? Nowadays it’s just an impending sense of absolute dread.

We went to my wife’s sister’s house for Thanksgiving this year. It’s about a three-hour drive. Traffic was, of course, ridiculous. So we get there and everything is great. We have a six-year old daughter and my wife has two sisters that also both have small children, so it really is cool when they all can get together and play. We eat, turn on the football game, the kids are having an amazing time, and then…I hear those fateful words from one of the women… “So, what are we gonna do about Christmas?” The mood immediately changes on a dime. My wife, her mom, and sisters all instantly morph into fucking high-priced litigators. Everyone has an idea about what should happen for Christmas, but we never know what will happen for Christmas until roughly 11:42pm on December 23rd. I used to chime in with my thoughts, but I’ve evolved into knowing better and not giving a fuck. I’ve accepted the situation and try to make the best of it. I try to keep my cool, but I always know deep-down inside that I have a Christmas Vacation-level holiday meltdown coming.

 

 

Week 13 NCAAF Picks ATS

The Rowdy Sports Guys JB, El Presidente, Ronnie Boo-Boo Child, and Nice Guy Joe are joined again by RotoSurgeon Kev and Kevin Luchansky to share their Week 13 NCAAF Picks ATS

Happy Saturday folks. We here at The Combine like to gamble, so we decided to share that passion with the readers. For Week 13, we brought some help over from our friends at RotoBaller RotoSurgeon Kev and Kevin Luchansky to partner with RowdyRotoJB, ElPresidenteJosh, Ronnie Boo-Boo Child, and Nice Guy Joe. Here is the final product:

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The Majority Picks

  1. Alabama (-24.5)
  2. Clemson (-26.0)
  3. Clemson vs South Carolina – Over 59.0
  4. Notre Dame @ USC – Under 54.0
  5. Michigan (-5.0)
  6. Michigan @ Ohio State – Under 55.0
  7. Georgia (-17.0)
  8. Georgia vs Georgia Tech – Under 59.0
  9. LSU (+3.0)
  10. Florida (-7.0)
  11. Florida @ Florida State – Under 52.0
  12. Maryland (+14.0)
  13. Kentucky @ Louisville – Over 52.0
  14. Utah (-11.5)
  15. Boston College (-7.0)
  16. Boise State (-3.0)
  17. Iowa State (-13.0)

The Unanimous TOP ROWDY PICKS of Week 13

  1. Notre Dame (-11.5)
  2. LSU @ Texas A&M – Under 48.0
  3. Penn State vs Maryland – Over 53.0
  4. Kentucky (-17.0)
  5. Utah vs BYU – Over 44.0
  6. Northwestern (-17.0)
  7. Syracuse @ Boston College – Under 59.0
  8. Utah State @ Boise State – Under 67
  9. Pittsburgh @ Miami – Over 47.0
  10. Iowa State vs Kansas State – Over 40.0

 

Opinions are like butts, everyone’s got one. So what are your thoughts on the picks? Who is going to finish Saturday with the highest percentage? Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter!

Black Friday NCAAF Picks ATS

The Rowdy Sports Guys JB, El Presidente, and Ronnie Boo-Boo Child are joined again by Kevin Luchansky to share their Week 13 Black Friday NCAAF Picks ATS

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. We here at The Combine hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving, and really hope you don’t get in a brawl at Walmart getting a TV. But if you do, please record it!

For Week 13, we get a special treat with four ranked NCAAF games on Black Friday, so we brought a friend over from RotoBaller Kevin Luchansky to partner with RowdyRotoJB, ElPresidenteJosh, and Ronnie Boo-Boo Child. Here is the final product:

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The Majority Picks

  1. Oklahoma @ West Virginia – Under 85.0
  2. Washington State @ Washington – Over 49.0
  3. UCF (-14.5)
  4. Texas (-16.0)
  5. Texas @ Kansas – Over 49.0

The Unanimous TOP ROWDY PICK of Black Friday

  1. UCF @ South Florida – Under 69.0

 

Opinions are like butts, everyone’s got one. So what are your thoughts on the picks? Who is going to finish Saturday with the highest percentage? Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter!

Tuesday Morning Tilt – Week 12

Joe Nicely gets some things off his chest in an all-new edition of Tuesday Morning Tilt

Welcome back to Tuesday Morning Tilt here at The Combine! To those of you that are joining me for the second or third time…some people never learn. If you are checking out Tuesday Morning Tilt for the first time…I apologize in advance.

The Saints Are Marching As The NFC South Crumbles

Holy hell! Are the Saints awesome or what? Everybody on offense is a threat to score at any time. Drew Brees looks like he’s been sipping from that Tom Brady fountain of youth, Alvin Kamara is the most explosive player in the NFL, Michael Thomas might be the second-coming of Jerry Rice, and Mark Ingram is a sidekick that has a Heisman Trophy at home. I think a ton of NFL coaches are horrible, but Sean Payton is a dude that has compiled a Hall of Fame-type resume while coaching the NEW ORLEANS FREAKIN’ SAINTS. I guess there are kids now who only know the Saints as being an excellent franchise, but those of us above a certain age remember the “Aints” days and the paper bags. It’s been an amazing turnaround for the franchise and the city of New Orleans. It certainly looks like they will be a handful in the postseason this year.

Speaking of coaching…did anyone catch the Panthers game? Fresh off receiving a Week 10 ass-kicking at Pittsburgh, the Panthers traveled to Detroit and lost to the lowly Lions in Week 11. Carolina scored with just over a minute to go to pull within one, but instead of kicking the extra point, “Riverboat” Ron Rivera tried to live up to his nickname and went for two. It actually should have worked, but Cam Newton missed a wide-open receiver in the end zone. Cam catches tons of shit from people (lots of it unwarranted) and I’m not trying to pile on, but man…it’s year eight and you’re Cam Fucking Newton, smart as hell and probably the most athletically gifted QB to ever play the position, what’s the problem? Maybe it’s not fair to always expect more from Cam Newton, but it feels like his greatness should be unquestioned by now and instead he still makes a lot of head-scratching mistakes.

Atlanta continues to struggle despite an all-star team on offense. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has his backers…I’m not one of them. The Falcons have had as many injuries on the defensive side of the ball as any team in recent memory. With a Thanksgiving Day showdown against New Orleans looming, it looks as though Atlanta will once again enter the offseason saying, “Wait ’till next year.”

Just when Tampa Bay thinks it’s out, Jameis Winston pulls them back in. The former number one pick came off the bench to spark the Bucs in a failed comeback bid against New York. Winston has already been announced the starter for Week 12. Every time it seems that the Bucs are finally ready to close the book on Winston, he flashes enough tantalizing ability to keep the team on the hook. With a huge team-option year on his contract coming up this offseason, it appears that Winston will be playing for his future in Tampa for the rest of the year.

 

The Future is Now & Monday Night in…Mexico City?

Last night’s Kansas City vs LA Rams game was everything. It lived up to the hype in every way imaginable, breaking the record for the most points ever scored on Monday Night Football. Before you “Defense is dead!” assholes even start…JUST DON’T! Yeah, I have tons of problems with penalties that are being called on defensive players. I think you should be able to actually hit the quarterback and a little contact won’t kill wide receivers. What we saw last night wasn’t a product of horrible defense (we saw some great defensive plays), but instead was a master class in offensive play-calling and execution. For those of you that think offense is getting out of hand, let me present Exhibit A: The New York Jets.

In addition to the unbelievable play on the field, the game was made even better by an electric, Super Bowl-type atmosphere in one of America’s greatest football stadiums, the LA Coliseum. The game was originally supposed to be played in Mexico City, but was canceled due to horrible field conditions. Can you imagine last night’s game being played in Mexico?Perhaps the solution to this problem would’ve been…don’t schedule games in fucking Mexico City?!? That’s not a knock on Mexico, I don’t think there should be games in London either. Give it a rest Goodell. The NFL has tried this “taking the game international” bullshit for years, to no avail. There was an NFL Europe league that failed miserably years ago and now the NFL is probably handing out a free pair of Jags tickets with every fish & chips purchase on the streets of London…it’s just not gonna work, Roger.

I’m not one of these assholes that thinks life doesn’t exist outside of America. There’s a huge international market for basketball and I think that’s great! They should put NBA teams all over the world. Have a U.S. conference and a world conference with the winners of each playing in The Finals every year. However, football is a different animal. It’s a uniquely American sport that our citizens grow up with and develop an emotional attachment to. Let home teams play in front of their hometown fans and if those hometown fans aren’t buying enough tickets, then let the team move, but don’t outsource the sport in an attempt to find yet another revenue stream. Our BILLIONS of dollars aren’t enough for the NFL? Give me a break.

 

Weekend Mood Swings

Well…I didn’t get to travel first-class to go talk to an NFL GM or be the guest of honor at some cool brewery, but it was actually a pretty damn good Friday night. I got a chance to go see golf personality David Feherty live in my hometown of Knoxville at the beautiful Bijou Theatre. His show is called “Off Tour” and it’s basically just Feherty bullshitting for a couple of hours, telling jokes and great stories about life and golf. It was an amazing show and if you ever get a chance to see Feherty live, go check him out.

My beloved Vols suffered a beatdown Saturday at the hands of the Missouri Tigers. It’s our third straight loss to Mizzou. Yes…I died a little inside when I typed that last sentence. We play Vandy in our final regular season game this Saturday and must win to become bowl eligible. I’ll be placing a large emotional hedge bet this week and will be either financially or psychologically bankrupt after this game.

Some weekends, by the time Sunday rolls around, I just don’t even want to leave the house. The Red Zone Channel and DFS have made it increasingly difficult to for me to even walk outside after 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon. I guess I’m old-school, but I still pay for things with cash quite often. That’s about to change for one specific type of purchase. I get pissed off every time I order a pizza and pay the delivery guy with cash. How do they always forget how to count all of a sudden? It’s always the same bullshit routine when you pay, no matter the delivery person. You hand them the cash and they turn into Forrest Gump…unable to do basic math…fingering through wads of one-dollar bills completely mystified, like they’ve never seen American money before. I know your game pizza guys! You motherfuckers can count just fine and you’ve definitely got a five tucked away somewhere in that stack of ones and twenties. Just give me my change and I’ll take care of you, there’s no need in trying to slow-roll a tip out of me…I’m just trying to get back to the couch!

 

 

 

Week 12 NCAAF Picks ATS

The Rowdy Sports Guys JB, El Presidente, Ronnie Boo-Boo Child, and Nice Guy Joe are joined again by RotoSurgeon Kev to share their Week 12 NCAAF Picks ATS

Happy Saturday folks. We here at The Combine like to gamble, so we decided to share that passion with the readers. For Week 12, we brought some help over from our friends at RotoBaller – Kev (@RotoSurgeon) to partner with RowdyRotoJB, ElPresidenteJosh, Ronnie Boo-Boo Child, and Nice Guy Joe. Here is the final product:

ncaaf

The Majority Picks

  1. Clemson (-28.0), Over 57.5
  2. Syracuse (+10.0)
  3. Michigan (-28.5), Over 53.5
  4. UMass (+41.0), Under 66.5
  5. Oklahoma (-36.0), Over 69.0
  6. Rice (+42.0), Over 52.0
  7. Washington State (-10.5), Under 62.5
  8. West Virginia (-5.5), Under 73.0
  9. Ohio State @ Maryland – Under 58.5
  10. UCF (-7.0), Over 60.5
  11. Penn State (-28.0)
  12. Iowa State (+3.0), Over 47.0
  13. Kentucky (-16.5), Under 46.5
  14. Oregon State (+33.5), Over 58.5
  15. Utah (-7.0)
  16. Boston College (-1.5)
  17. Mississippi State (-21.5), Over 46.5
  18. Northwestern (+2.0), Under 47.0
  19. Utah State (-28.5), Under 68.0

The Unanimous TOP ROWDY PICKS of Week 12

  1. Notre Dame vs Syracuse – Under 65.0
  2. Ohio State (-14.5)
  3. Penn State @ Rutgers – Over 49.5
  4. Utah @ Colorado – Over 48.0
  5. Boston College @ Florida State – Over 49.0

 

Opinions are like butts, everyone’s got one. So what are your thoughts on the picks? Who is going to finish Saturday with the highest percentage? Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter!