Our offseason Four Downs series ends with a look at the NFC West's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. The Rams and 49ers have to kick-start their passing games, Arizona's offense lacks a big dimension, and the Seahawks continue to rely on Russell Wilson's magic tricks.
28 Aug 2008
by Russell Levine
This column turns four this week, and like any fifth-year senior, I've learned a few things along the way. Among other things, I've learned that handicapping college football is not a particular strong suit of mine, no matter how many 14-hour Saturdays I log on the couch. But mostly I've learned that there's a vibrant community of college football followers on FO, and watching the comment threads pile up each weekend makes the effort worthwhile. Expanding our college football coverage to help serve that community is going to be a major initiative at Football Outsiders over the next few months.
I've continued to tweak the format of SDA over the years, and this year is no different. I'm still picking the week's biggest games, and you can find those picks in the table below, along with start times and TV listings. Instead of taking on my weekly guest, I'm going to be taking on FO college football stats guru Brian Fremeau, who is using his Fremeau Efficiency Index to forecast those same games. This accomplishes a few things. One, it gives you a chance to learn about FEI and Brian's work, which is outstanding and deserves your attention. It was probably statistical analysis that brought you to FO in the first place, right? Second, this will free my weekly podcast guest from the need to make point-spread picks. That was always a touchy subject for some of the mainstream media guests, and frankly, I thought it was the weakest part of the podcast.
So if you're dying to hear some mediocre-at-best predictions, I'm sorry to disappoint. But I'm guessing you'll enjoy hearing weekly conversations with writers and bloggers that are at the heart of the college football media scene.
My other goal with SDA this year is to involve you, the reader/listener. I've set up a page on Facebook in the hopes that you'll join me there and extend the college football conversation all week long. I'll be posting discussion topics, and inviting people to post their road-trip pictures and videos. Some of what I gather on Facebook will appear here on SDA each week.
Going to game this weekend? Post some tailgate pictures. Invite your friends to join in. Let's kick this off with our first "Facebook topic of the Week". The question is, who's going to play in the BCS championship game, and why? Post your answer on the Facebook discussion board. If I get enough activity, we'll make this a weekly feature and the best responses will appear in next week's post.
The other change you'll notice is that SDA is going to be all about the podcast. We'll discuss the games in the podcast (though not so much this week with it being the opening weekend), but I won't be doing writeups of the individual matchups. Still, this article serves as the college football open thread, just as it has for the past four seasons. So, discuss away! Will Clemson or Missouri slip up in tough opening tests against Alabama and Illinois? Will it be a second straight tough opener for Michigan? The forum is yours.
Matt Hinton authors the Dr. Saturday blog on Yahoo! Sports. He's the former author of the Sunday Morning QB site before Yahoo recognized his talent and scooped him up.
Listen in as we break down the six BCS conferences, discuss this week's biggest games, and talk about who needs to be on upset alert this week.
Below are my picks for the big eight games of the weekend, along with the FEI forecast. For more from FEI, including score projections for every game, visit Brian's blog, BCF Toys.
|THIS WEEK'S PICKS
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
|Visitor||Spread||Home||FEI Says||Russell Says|
|Virginia Tech||-9.5||East Carolina||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech|
|Michigan State||+4.5||Cal||Cal||Michigan State|
|Fresno State||+5||Rutgers||Rutgers||Fresno State|
I want to make this feature as much about the listeners/readers as possible. I want to hear from you. Have a question, a suggestion, a complaint? A guest you'd like me try and interview? Don't keep it to yourself. E-mail me!
73 comments, Last at 01 Sep 2008, 1:50am by t.d.