FTF Top 5/Rick Riggin


Rick Riggin/Official College Football Analyst for The Balance  

The ever evolving, the weekly changing FTF Top 5.  It’s about how you look.  It’s about the eye candy.  You can put any metric on a team’s wins and losses.  Who they’ve beat, who their opponent has beaten and so on…. But it all comes down to how your team looks, and how would your team would do against elite competition on a neutral field.  I feel the “eye test” is the best metric for judging teams.
1. Alabama – This has been the consistent, consensus #1 week in and week out.  There’s really no argument/debate here.
2. Georgia – Now we can have a debate.  Penn State just trashed Michigan at home. Why aren’t they #2?… Because I feel Georgia defensively can contain Saquon Barkley.
3. Penn State – Definitely a Top 5 team, but I need to see them against elite competition before they move to #2.  I’ll get my wish this weekend when they travel to the Horseshoe to play Ohio State.
4. TCU – The Big 12’s only hope as I see it.  Oklahoma hasn’t look that great lately.  TCU is great defensively, and because of that I feel they can play with anybody in the country.
5. Ohio State – Yeah I know Wisconsin is undefeated, but like I said, its “eyeballs” and Ohio State finally looks the part. They got their sh*t together at the right time.  We’ll find out this Saturday, OSU vs PSU.

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Dearest Beth,
As our men rested their eyes weary from our travels, a pack of jaguars invaded our camp and massacred our battalion.  I was unable to give warning of the impending danger as I am still hobbled from my battle wounds.  The jaguars were quick and calculated, and able to drag away some of our officers.  Among the missing is young Captain Brissett, Lieutenant Hilton, and Major Gore.  Now as the remaining men tend to the injured and search for the missing, we must plan our approach into Ohio where it is said a pride of tigers awaits.
Love Always

General A. Luck

NFL lack of O heading into Monday night/Ed Kracz

NFL lack of O heading into Monday night
Ed Kracz-Official NFL Contributor for the Balance
@kracze

Maybe Monday night’s primetime NFC East matchup between rivals Philadelphia and Washington will be easier on the eyes than what took place around the National Football League on Sunday.
Don’t look for any offensive short-outs between the Eagles, who are the only team in the league with only one loss at the moment, and the Redskins, who are trying to prevent being swept by the Birds this season after losing the season-opener on their home field back in early September.
At least hope for some offense. That was very much a missing ingredient in Sunday’s full slate of games.
There were six teams who failed to score an offensive touchdown. That’s just simply offensive.
There were another five teams who scored only one touchdown. That’s just mystifying in a day and age where the rules are tailored to encourage points.
The Titans and Browns slogged through 60 minutes of football where neither team was capable of finding the end zone. Tennessee won an all-field-goal game, 12-9. And it took overtime to decide. Fans should demand their money back for having to watch that slop. Of course, Cleveland fans are used to watching such anemic offensive play after failing to draft an NFL-caliber quarterback in forever.
Sunday was no different, with head coach Hue Jackson deciding to start DeShone Kizer again after benching him last week, only to change course during the game, yanking out Kizer for Cody Kessler. The Browns are now 1-22 since trading away the No. 2 pick of the draft last year to the Eagles, who selected quarterback Carson Wentz. There aren’t enough thank-you notes in the world for Philly fans to send Cleveland for that deal.
The Chicago Bears won their second straight game to get to 3-4 and did so with their starting quarterback, rookie Mitchell Trubisky, completing just four passes in seven attempts. The Bears held the ball for just 21 minutes, 25 seconds, gained a paltry total of 153 yards and yet still found a way to beat the Carolina Panthers 17-3.
Three teams had big fat zeroes next to their name – the Colts, Broncos, and Cardinals.
The last time three teams laid goose-eggs on the same day was back in December 2012.
OK, Arizona lost it starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, to a broken arm, and he will miss the next eight weeks at minimum, so maybe they get a pass – no pun intended.
The Broncos need to think about making a quarterback change, before it’s too late. The Broncs are swimming in a sea of mediocrity at 3-3 and Trevor Siemian is at the helm of an offense going nowhere. They have scored 108 points in six games. Only three teams have scored fewer, and, yes, the Browns are one. Denver’s defense is too good to let this season slip through its fingers.
Then there are the Colts, whose offensive line allowed 10 sacks to Jacksonville – or should we say, Sacksonville.
It’s a wonder that Indy QB Jacoby Brissett managed to escape injury. And isn’t that why Brissett is playing quarterback in the first place, because Andrew Luck could not stay healthy behind an offensive line that has more leaks than Donald Trump’s White House?
So cross your fingers and hope the Monday nighter at least delivers some touchdowns, and some drama.

Lets talk Indy Car

James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced its lineup for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season that will feature an all-Canadian driving duo of James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens.

Hinchcliffe has renewed his contract with the Indianapolis-based team with a multiyear extension. The five-time race winner and 2016 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter will enter his eighth Verizon IndyCar Series season in 2018 and fourth with SPM.

Wickens joins the team following six successful seasons driving for Mercedes-Benz in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series in Europe. Wickens did fill in for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for a practice day at the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America in June, when former SPM driver Mikhail Aleshin had visa issues and could not be at the track.

“Not only am I really excited to be able to say I’ll be back with SPM for next year and beyond,” said Hinchcliffe, a native of Oakville, Ontario, “but I am also really looking forward to being teammates with one of my oldest friends. Robbie and I grew up racing against one another, eventually took different paths – me staying in North America in open-wheel cars and him going off to Europe in sports cars – but it’s pretty neat that we both ended up here and we get to live our dream of being professional racing drivers, together on the same team.”

Hinchcliffe, 30, and Wickens, 28, will form the first all-Canadian full-time team in Indy car racing since 2004 when Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier drove for Forsythe Racing in Champ Car.

“This is an entirely new chapter to add to my racing career, and I am really excited for this opportunity that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has given me,” Wickens said. “I think everyone knows the story by now that James and I grew up racing against one another in go-karts, and to make it to the largest open-wheel racing series in North America together as teammates, it’s crazy to think about.

“I am very thankful for the six years I had with everyone at Mercedes and DTM,” Wickens added. “Those are memories I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to truly see what the Verizon IndyCar Series is all about.”

Wickens won six DTM races in his six seasons, but he cut his teeth in open-wheel racing prior to making the shift to touring cars. The native of Guelph, Ontario, won the Formula BMW USA championship in 2006 and Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2011.

“We’re all very pleased to have Robert on board, and not just because he’s another Canadian,” said Ric Peterson, SPM co-owner and fellow Canadian. “He’s obviously someone who has been on our radar for some time now, and we’re excited about this new chapter in the SPM organization. We’ve been building a lot of momentum within the team and hope this latest addition will be a great next step as we move forward. I’m also really proud that we’ll be able to represent Team Canada and be able to showcase two great Canadian athletes.”

Check out the full schedule right here:

March 11 – Streets of St. Petersburg
April 7 – Phoenix Raceway
April 15 – Streets of Long Beach
April 22 – Barber Motorsports Park
May 12 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course
May 27 – Indianapolis 500
June 2-3 – Raceway at Belle Isle Park
June 9 – Texas Motor Speedway
June 24 – Road America
July 8 – Iowa Speedway
July 15 – Streets of Toronto
July 29 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Aug. 19 – Pocono Raceway
Aug. 25 – Gateway Motorsports Park
Sept. 2 – Portland International Raceway
Sept. 16 – Sonoma Raceway

Sources Indy Car
HINCHCLIFFE, WICKENS FORM ALL-CANADIAN LINEUP FOR SCHMIDT PETERSON
By INDYCAR | Published: Oct 18, 2017

Takuma Sato Immortalized

Takuma Sato out-raced Helio Castroneves to win his first Indianapolis 500.
He has he drove to victory lane, wore the wreath, drank the milk and even kissed the bricks.

However there is still one more task to achieve. After 5 months that last task is completed.

The task of course is being immortalized on the Borg-Warner Trophy. “Today, you look at the face…and it’s just a happy man. As I am,” Sato told a crowd gathered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. “I’m truly thrilled and very happy.”

Sato says that being an Indy 500 champion is something he never could have imagined:

Coaching Carousel Rumors That Won’t Happen/ Rick Riggin

Coaching Carousel Rumors That Won’t Happen
written by Rick Riggin The official Balance College Football Analyst

We hear the same thing every year. There’s always some big time program with a fan base ready to fire their Head Coach every week. Last year it was Texas and Notre Dame. Of course Texas actually did fire their guy and landed Tom Herman. Brian Kelly has gotten dangerously close, but looks to have turned the Irish around. But besides these two examples, there are big time programs that fall short of expectations, and the fan base starts screaming for 2 of the 3 guys on this list. So with that, we’ll start this list of coaches that you will NOT see coaching your team. Let’s start with #3…..

3. Bob Stoops – He literally just retired. And he left an elite program while he still has a lot of great coaching years left in the tank. Only he and his family know the true reason on why he decided on an early retirement, but I would think that reason means he’s not coming to your school and rebuild it’s program. I mean this guy left Baker Mayfield and a pretty good Sooners team that had a pretty good shot at returning to the Playoff.

2. Chip Kelly – He had a taste of the NFL, and I 100% believe that’s where he wants to be. Unlike Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, no school will make Chip Kelly such a ridiculous offer like that… And, he absolutely hates recruiting. He’s been perfectly content just being a “football consultant” for several teams. Less stressful that way. He’s not going to want to rebuild your program, and also don’t think that Oregon offense from several years ago will work today.

1. Chip Kelly – Ahhh, the White Whale, the Gray Ghost. The guy everybody wants. Just look at that picture. He’s perfectly happy by not coaching, right? He’s making college head coach money just by calling Monday Night Football games. Tennessee would have to pay him like 1 billion dollars and make him King of the Volunteer state. If he was going to come back to coaching, it would’ve happen a long time ago.
But it’s fun to fantasize about these guys taking over your program. But that’s all it will be, a fantasy.
Follow Rick Riggin on Twitter: @Riggin_Rick

Follow Flipping The Field: @Flipping_Field

Source Rick Rggin Flipping The Field

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Letters From The General/Rick Riggin

Dearest Beth,
Our march to Tennessee was a triumphant one as we tasted victory against the invading gold miners in our last battle. Only if we would’ve known what these men they call Titans had planned for us. Our young officer, Capt. Brissett, lead our battalion with great leadership. But neither he nor I could have known that these men, these Titans, were nothing short of immortal. Like me, their General also has nagging battle wounds, but he led his Titans to victory. Their swords and shields are as much a part of them as their own beating hearts. I look forward to one day soon, rejoining my men in the trenches, and reclaiming our days of victory…
Love Always

General A. Luck

Source Rick Riggin Flipping The Field

So yeah about “Rodgers and the NFC” /Ed Kracz Balance NFL Contributor

So yeah about “Rodgers and the NFC” /Ed Kracz Balance NFL Contributor
By Ed Kracz
NFL Contributor

Too many of the stars in the NFL heavens have begun to flicker out.
Another weekend of games are complete, and on this one, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers couldn’t make it to the finish line, breaking a collarbone in his throwing shoulder on a clean hit from Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr during their game on Sunday. So Rodgers joins other stars such as the Giants’ Odell Beckham, the Texans’ J.J. Watt, the Cardinals’ David Johnson, the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, and the Patriots’ Julian Edelman on the shelf for the remainder of the year.
It’s not good for the league or its fans when these types of high-quality players go down before the season has even begun to get within ear shot of trick-or-treaters ringing doorbells on Halloween.
Strictly from an on-the-field perspective, the injury to Rodgers may have the greatest consequences not only on his team, but across the entire NFC landscape, from the east coast where Philly is making plenty of noise to the west coast where Seattle’s defense keeps thumping right along.
Rodgers was arguably the best player in the league. He gave the Pack a chance to win any game they played, even though Green Bay is a flawed team. So is just about every team in the league, though, which made Rodgers the great tiebreaker and his team a perennial Super Bowl contender.
Now, Green Bay will attempt to stay afloat with a former fifth-round draft pick in Brett Hundley and a backup who played his college football at the tiny Division III Wesley University in Dover, Del.
Meanwhile, the rest of the NFC salivates.
Suddenly, the Eagles are the favorite to earn a No. 1 seed. They have the best record in the NFC at 5-1. Seattle is in the hunt for the top spot with a defense that is still ferocious and a quarterback in Russell Wilson who has been to the mountaintop once already in his career. Don’t count out Carolina, yet, either despite a 28-23 loss to Philadelphia last Thursday.
None of these teams have anything locked up, by any means, though.
Not now, not after the momentum Rodgers’ injury gives teams like the Falcons, who were a 13-point favorite at home on Sunday, yet somehow found a way to the Jay Cutler-led Miami Dolphins. Or the Detroit Lions, who looked like a team to be reckoned with until losing their last two games, giving up a whopping 52 points to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Washington Redskins fought tooth-and-nail to get to 3-2 by surviving an upset bid from the winless 49ers on Sunday.
Go right down the list … Minnesota, especially quarterback Teddy Bridgewater given the green-light to practice this week, the Los Angeles Rams with a 31-year-old coach in Sean McVay doing wonders with former No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff, and on it goes.
Really, there are only two teams who don’t look like they can make it into the playoff field of six and they are the 1-5 Giants and 0-6 49ers. Maybe the Packers are the third now that Rodgers is done.
The rest?
Well, with Rodgers’ star now extinguished most of the NFC teams have an even greater chance to shine.

Follow Ed Kracz on Twitter: @kracze

‘NFL Films Presents Touchdown in Israel’ Follows Robert Kraft and Pro Football Hall of Famers’ Trip to the Holy Land

​​’NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel’ Airs Friday, October 20 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network​

“Bringing the game to the rest of the world…There’s nothing better.” – Joe Montana

NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel airs on Friday, October 20 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network. The one-hour show produced by NFL Films and hosted by Katie Nolan follows the unforgettable spiritual journey of New England Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft and 18 Pro Football Hall of Famers to Israel to relish in the faith-filled culture and spread the gospel of America’s Game.

Touchdown in Israel follows Kraft and the team of 18 Hall of Famers including Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, Cris Carter, Aeneas Williams and Joe Greene as they visit historical and biblical landmarks including the Mount of Beatitudes, Jordan River, Masada, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall, City of David and the Dead Sea. Together, the football legends absorb the Holy Land’s offerings and form powerful bonds with one another.

Included in Touchdown in Israel are reflections from Hall of Fame cornerback and founding pastor of Spirit Church in St. Louis Aeneas Williams discussing how God helped Williams through his football career, and Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter sharing his story on Christ saving his football career and helping him overcome drug abuse, as well as baptisms in the sacred Jordan River for many of the Hall of Famers.

Kraft pioneers the integration of Israeli culture and American football, opening the Kraft Family Sports Campus to develop another cultural link between the United States and Israel. Alongside Kraft, NFL football greats help foster football’s growth in Israel by coaching and mentoring local Israeli football squads in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Touchdown in Israel features the following Pro Football Hall of Famers:

Joe Montana

Roger Staubach

Joe Greene

Cris Carter

Andre Reed

John Stallworth

Eric Dickerson

Marshall Faulk

Dave Casper

Jerome Bettis

Jim Brown

Ron Yary

Aeneas Williams

Lem Barney

Willie Lanier

Mike Singletary

Andre Tippett

Bruce Smith

Provided below are some select quotes from NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel:

– “You see us with the equipment on. You see us with the helmets on. But at the end of the day, we’re just human beings that are in need of Christ…Learning to worship God helped me learn to overcome fear. So many people never reach their destinies, never reach their potential because they never learn that they are created in God’s image. As they learn to worship the One that created them, the fear begins to dissipate because God becomes bigger then whatever that fear is.” – Aeneas Williams

– “I continue to thank God for allowing my family and me, Jonathan, Daniel and Joshua to help continue to build Jerusalem the Holy City all together, as one nation, one city, and with a prayer for peace, the nation of Israel lives.” – Robert Kraft

– “I came here as just a member of the Hall, but man I am leaving with some special relationships.” – Marshall Faulk

– “Bringing the game to the rest of the world…There’s nothing better. What you’re doing with bringing American football here, it is something that brings people together.” – Joe Montana