Don’s Five Sleeper Teams: 2019 College Football

The 2019 College Football Season is approaching very soon, so I have decided to release my top 5 teams that can really stir the pot this season. I don’t think these teams have a real shot at winning their conference, let alone the national championship, but each team will play a key role in knocking off the top teams in the nation.

1. Auburn Tigers

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via ESPN

Auburn has the ability to emerge as a top team in the nation depending on how they handle their brutal schedule. They kick off their season with Justin Herbert and Oregon coming down Week 1. They then have Texas A&M, Florida, LSU, Georgia, and Alabama all on their schedule. Freshman Bo Nix has been named the starting QB, who takes over the position after Jarrett Stidham was drafted by the New England Patriots this April. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Derrick Brown returns as the defensive leader. Brown, who is looked at as the top defensive tackle in the country, looks to show his abilities against the likes of all the teams listed above. Auburn was given a tough schedule but I believe they can pull out some gritty wins and upset one of the top SEC teams.

2. Texas A&M Aggies

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via College Football News

Similar to Auburn, Texas A&M was given a rough schedule. Looking at the preseason rankings, the Aggies will play the #1, #2, #3, and #6 teams in the nation. Kellen Mond returns at QB with Kendrick Rodgers returning at receiver. This duo will look to keep up an explosive offense against the highly talented offenses of Clemson and Alabama. What will make or break the Aggies’ season will be their secondary. It is not an easy task to be forced to contain receivers like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Justyn Ross, and Tee Higgins, but having to play against the nation’s top QB’s in Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence, it makes things much more complicated. If Texas A&M pulls out a a couple wins against Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and Georgia, this season will be a success.

3. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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via Brandon Cavanaugh/Athlon Sports

Nebraska enters the 2019 season after a 4-8 season. What makes me hopeful for Nebraska is that Scott Frost is in his second year, with Adrian Martinez returning at Quarterback, who is regarded as a top QB in the B1G 10. In their last 6 games in the 2018 season, Nebraska ended 4-2. Without a tough schedule, the Cornhuskers can compete in the B1G 10 West, with a shot at the B1G 10 title. I’m looking forward to their game on 9/28 when Ohio State comes to town. The Ohio State/Nebraska game will make or break their season. Entering 2019 as the #24 ranked team in the nation, Nebraska is my personal dark horse of the year.

4. Iowa State Cyclones

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via Iowa State Athletics

After experiencing key losses to the offense with running back David Montgomery and receiver Hakeem Butler being drafted last April, Iowa State looks to reload entering 2019. With Brock Purdy back at QB, the Cyclones are primed for a shot at the B1G 12 title. Purdy showed signs of excellence in 2018, but also flashes of disappointment. Entering his sophomore season, Purdy should be able to effectively lead the Cyclones through the first half of the season without taking a loss. The true testament will be their games against Oklahoma and Texas. If they are able to knock off those two teams, Iowa State could make a push for the National Championship.

5. Michigan State Spartans

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via Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press

Rounding out this list is a team that should not be here, but is. Michigan State is a very good team, when they decide to play offense. Defensively, Michigan State may have the best defense in the nation. Offensively, they have one of the worst offenses in the nation. With Brian Lewerke returning from after a disastrous 2018, he will be the leader looking to turn the Spartans into a competitor in the B1G 10 East. With myself being a Michigan fan, I am intrigued to see how Michigan State play in 2019.



Don’s Top 10 Defensive Players: 2019 College Football Rankings

It would have been easier to rank each defensive group individually, however, I’m on a time crunch so I figured I would just group them all together and as the season progresses, I will separate each position. It’s not fair nor possible to compare a safety to an edge rusher because they’re different. I decided to put this list together based on talent and how much impact I think each player has on a game. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Xavier Thomas, DE, Clemson; Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State; Raekwon Davis, DE, Alabama; Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame

10. Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

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Dylan Moses is the player to watch on this Alabama defense. Formerly a 5-star recruit, Moses will be playing as an interior linebacker for this Alabama group. Alabama has been notorious for having a very good linebacker group, specifically in the middle of the field. This will be Moses’ first season being the sole contributor at the Mike, so expect to hear his name quite often while watching the Tide in the fall.

9. Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern

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via Northwestern Athletics

Paddy Fisher is the best run-stopping linebacker in college. His ability to fill the gap and make a tackle is fun to watch. I would like to see Fisher to be higher on this list, but I want to see Fisher show off some pass rushing ability. If he can develop a knack for rushing the QB, then expect Fisher to fly up NFL big boards.

8. Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

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via 24/7 Sports

Gross-Matos took the 2018 season by storm by racking up 8 sacks with 20 tackles for loss. He’s the type of player that coaches game-plan against, but no matter what you do, he will make the play. If you run inside of him, he’s hitting you in the mouth. If you run outside of him, he’s chasing you down and grabbing you for a loss. Stay in the pocket to long? Sack. The DE’s in the Big 10 are absolutely incredible, because four of the ten players on this list are DE’s in the Big 10.

7. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

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via Virginia Sports

Bryce Hall terrorized receivers in 2018, leading the nation in pass breakups and passes defended. Hall allowed on 34 completions in 13 games. He is the definition of a no fly zone. Now entering his senior year, this Virginia defense has the ability to really make some noise with Hall leading the helm. If Hall continues his play, look for him being the number one corner entering the 2020 NFL draft.

6. Derrick Brown, DT, Aurburn

All-SEC DL Derrick Brown returning to Auburn for senior season

via  Todd Van Emst/ Auburn Athletics

SEC coaches were not happy to here that Derrick Brown was returning to Auburn for his senior season. Why? Because he was already projected to be a first rounder in the 2019 NFL draft, but he is returning to the 2019 season after being selected to the all-SEC team. Brown is looking to show scouts his ability to rush the passer, after accumulating 4.5 sacks last season. I’m excited to see how Brown attacks QB Justin Herbert week 1 when Oregon comes down to meet Auburn.

5. Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State

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via Michigan State Athletics

Kenny Willekes will be coming off a leg injury that occurred at the end of last season, but he is expected to be at full strength. Over the last two years, Willekes has 15.5 sacks and 35 tackles for loss. The dynamic between Willekes and Bachie is one that is to be feared by opposing offenses. The problem lies to MSU’s offense, which is hoping to have a bounce back season.

4. Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

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via 24/7 Sports

The safety/linebacker hybrid, Isaiah Simmons, is now the leader of the Clemson defense. After losing nearly their entire defensive line, Simmons is expected to pick up some of the lost pieces. Entering his junior season, Simmons was the tackle leader last year for Clemson with 97 total tackles. With that, 9 of them were for a loss. Simmons had one interception, which he ran back for a touchdown. He was listed as a safety last season, but I’m expecting him to put some weight on and become a powerhouse linebacker.

3. A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

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via Hawkeye Sports

The story line this season will be Epenesa vs Young. Unfortunately, we will not see the two play. What we will see is Epenesa play Gross-Matos, which is another of the four Big 10 DE’s. Regardless, an argument can be made to have Epenesa at the top of this list. He is already projected by some to be the number one selected Edge to be taken in 2020, and is drawing comparisons to the Bosa brothers. In 2018, Epenesa totaled 37 tackles with 16.5 of them being for loss and 10.5 of them being sacks. Look for another big season from Epenesa as he makes a push towards the 2020 NFL Draft.

2. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

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via USA Today

Rounding out the Edge rushers is Chase Young, the predecessor to the Bosa brothers reign of OSU anchors. It’s a tough task to replace such talent, but Chase Young is looking to be even better than the Bosa’s were. His stats are comparable to Epenesa, 33 tackles (14.5 being for loss) and 9.5 sacks. I’m predicting Young to have a better season than Epenesa this year, and with OSU having a tougher schedule, I think he will be entering the 2020 draft as the premiere Edge rusher.

1. Grant Delpit, S, LSU

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via 24/7 Sports

Just to establish credibility, in 2016, I had Jamal Adams as the top player in college. In 2017, I had Derwin James as the top defensive player in college. In 2018, I had Quinnen Williams, who although is unproven in the NFL, I’m still holding a great track record. Grant Delpit is set to have a HISTORIC season. Last year, Delpit had 74 tackles, 9 being for a loss, 5 were sacks, and he had 5 interceptions. Incredible numbers, and I truly believe he is going to do so much more. I’m hoping LSU pulls their offense together because with Delpit being the best defensive player in college, they have a chance to pull off a run for the title. I expect the other nine here on this list to move up and down, but Grant Delpit is most likely going to sit at the top spot all year.

The Trials and Tribulations of Michigan Sports

Last October I address my thoughts on Michigan sports as a whole, and I feel like I should revisit and explain my updated stance on our local teams.

Detroit Lions

Every year, I have hope. I pray to the supernatural that just maybe the Lions will make a run for it all. All I think now is the 30 for 30 that will come out about how the Lions are cursed without even being cursed. You had great terrible teams come out of the muck, the Cubs won a World Series, the Red Sox turned it around, the damn Browns are now Super Bowl contenders. Where are the Lions? No where, that’s where. The Lions did the right things this off-season, but I hate saying how great we drafted without seeing any of these guys actually play on Sunday. We have an aging QB, absolutely no receiving depth, have no idea who is playing our other guard position, no opposite corner to Slay, and praying to the heavens that Tavai works out to be a great linebacker and Tracy Walker being a great safety. Our defensive line looks great, but other than that, the only thing I can look forward to is the memes on r/NFL to another possible failed 1st round tightend. It’s a shame, but I can’t look away. This team hypes me up only to break my heart.

Detroit Pistons

Can anyone explain to me what is going on here. Again, people are telling me it’s a great draft but come on. No way of knowing, at all, until the season starts. And I can’t help but recall that the Pistons were about to trade for Mike Conley, what a joke. Let’s put all of our cap space towards 3 players, who other than Blake Griffen, are not worth the check. I feel bad for Blake if I’m being honest. I don’t see how the Pistons will make a legitimate run in the East, and considering all of the stars are moving to the West, what a disaster. This team is a disaster.

Detroit Tigers

Check this out, the Tigers have a chance to not even get to 50 wins this year. Losing 100 games is sad, but losing 110 games, that’s another joke. A joke that we may be laughing about. I don’t give a shit about a rebuild, you should be able to win more than 50 games. The Tigers have won less than I’d say 6 series this season. I don’t even bother paying attention anymore because I’m better off watching a little league game. If tickets were free, I’d still probably not go.

Detroit Red Wings

Yay, Steve Yzerman is back. Maybe we can show up to play a game other than in the last month when we’re locked in on a top 3 pick. Who’s brain told them, you know what, instead of us giving ourselves a better chance next season with a higher rated prospect, lets win some games to completely destroy that. But hey, young team, Stevie Y, I’ll have to check with the hockey experts to find out how I should feel.

Michigan Wolverines

Yes, I’m aware that the baseball team is in the World Series. I’m talking about the football team running away from the College Football Playoff as fast as they could. Getting absolutely embarrassed by the Buckeyes, only to get even more embarrassed by the Gators. Jim Harbaugh finally passed the offense down to his offensive coordinator, so hopefully we can actually throw the ball more than 15 times a game. Oh, and the entire defense left so let’s see how that’s going to treat us. Maybe another 10 win season with some shitty bowl game will suffice. It’s unfortunate that fans are okay with that. Still baffles me.

Michigan State Spartans

I’m clearly a Wolverine fan but I hope that the Spartans can score more than 10 points a game. I wish that the Michigan vs State game would be more special than what it is now. Granted, the weather has caused the games to be a shit show that last few years, but can you imagine Lewerke throwing for 300 yards with that great defense behind him? State would be easily a top 10 team in the nation, but whoever is running that offense over there is either blind or incompetent because numbers don’t lie.

All in all, I feel like this is an accurate overview of our local teams. Not much to be excited for other than to be pissed off that we suck at the end of each season.

Michigan State’s new alternates were made by Stevie Wonder MY BLOG:

(via twitter @MSUFootball)

These are complete and utter trash. Neon green is a tough color to make it look good, and this is not it chief. Those things are gross. The only other uniform that I can think of that are worse than these is Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Like, what are you thinking? Who made these? I feel like they just copied a blank jersey into MS Paint, put a funky font on the front and added neon green and dark green as the fill, and bam, alternate jerseys. At least get a chrome helmet or something. There’s just too much going on in these. If you make alternates, stick to a grey or black. Lets leave the neon colors out of it unless you are willing to go all out like Oregon. Oh, and who the allowed this kid to wear Seattle Seahawks gloves? Zoom in on the gloves, literally the Seahawks logo. What in the world MSU. I hope this was a late April Fools joke because good lord, these are brutal. Please for the love of God Michigan, do not make this same mistake. I predicted MSU to have a major bounce back year, but not with these clown suits.

Michgan State Basketballs Better Than Michigan MY BLOG:

First and foremost, I am a Michigan fan. Go Blue is my yeee yee. Whatever, that’s besides the point. Unlike most of my fellow fans of the maize and blue, I can recognize that my team is inferior to the puke green and white, in basketball. I’m not even going to say that Michigan choked yesterday, because they didn’t. They were outplayed down the stretch, and it showed. However, I really do not understand the uproar of Michigan State being put into Duke’s region. I, being Michigan, would rather be put in that region than put in Michigan’s region. I truly believe, up and down, Michigan’s region is much more difficult than State’s. State has to beat Duke. Of course, looking at the seeding, Gonzaga is trash compared to Duke. Duke is favored to win the entire thing. Besides Zion, who are the best players in the tournament? Grant Williams (Tennessee), RJ Barrett (Duke), De’Andre Hunter (Virginia), and then you have Markus Howard (Marquette), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech), JA Morant (Murray State), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), and Caleb Martin (Nevada). All of the players after Hunter are all in Michigan’s region. Don’t even start with the “players don’t win, teams win” bs. March Madness is madness because of the excitement, and I’m telling you right now, the excitement is going to be in the West region with Michigan, but not from Michigan. I have Michigan losing to Florida/Nevada. I think State will have a better run in the tournament, because of their placement. I would’ve expected State to be much more upset if they were placed in the West. Regardless, my blessings are sent your way EL. May Cassius lead you to a historic defeat to Duke in the Elite 8. Thank you and god bless.

Little Brother (Inner Monologue vol.2)

Inner Monologue is how I express my thoughts on a range of issues and topics. Specifically, these pieces will be less analytical and more broad. This is a platform for me to give my two cents on things that are a point of controversy. I will offend, I might be wrong, but I will be honest. My opinions are my own, but I am open to discussion. Enjoy.

Boo-hoo Sparties, boo-hoo. Cry about Devin Bush’s stomping on your sacred logo. Cry about Winovich calling you a little brother. Cry about Harbaugh not apologizing for their actions. Or let’s make excuses on how your QB was hurt, how he didn’t practice all week. Or how your key players were hurt. Yes, feel sorry for yourselves. Feel sorry for yourselves because nobody else gives a damn.

Let’s start on your excuses. Brian Lewerke was hurt. Apparently he didn’t practice all week. If that’s the case, why was he under center? Explain that. It ruins chemistry with the line, the receivers, and the backs. You have a dude named Rocky Lombardi running with the starters during practice, but give Lewerke the go on game day? It’s hard to get any worse at QB. Would Lombardi win that game for you? No. I don’t think Jesus would’ve won that game for you. Furthermore on the injuries, yeah your team is banged up. So was Michigan. Arguably our star players on both sides of the ball weren’t playing (Black and Gary). Don’t give me a sob story on how your team is injury plagued. Your gameplan sucked. Your execution sucked. Your play calling sucked. Your team sucked.

Now onto the sad part. The Sparties get absolutely destroyed, and the thing they want to bitch about is Michigan’s “class”. “Win with class” “Act like you’ve been here before” “Devin Bush is a child” “Winovich’s comments were uncalled for and disgusting” smd how about that. You wanna bitch and moan about all that when you couldn’t even get 100 yards of offense? You couldn’t stop the run when, apparently, you had the best run defense in the country. But the biggest takeaway from this game are things that didn’t even happen in those 60 minutes of football. The only “disgusting” thing about that game on Saturday is how horrific you played.

Now in comes the “we weren’t even a good team anyway” comments. You beat Penn State. You were ranked. You were just out planned, out matched, and out coached. The better team won.

Chase Winovich talked about how you were the little brother and that is what has everyone bitching. You know who bitches? Little brothers. Take your loss, move on, and get better because you sucked on Saturday.