PFF and the Jabrill Peppers Conundrum

Pro Football Focus (PFF) is at times a controversial website. Namely because the site doesn’t simply regurgitate information (like some annoying blogs we know). Its scouts and experts have their own system of rating player performance that doesn’t consider hype and press clippings.

That doesn’t mean that PFF is always right. Jared Goff was the #4 overall rated player by PFF going into the draft last year (it’s too early to tell if Goff can live up to that but early results aren’t that positive). But former Ohio State star Joey Bosa was ranked #1 and some advanced metrics show Bosa, when on the field, has had an amazing impact in San Diego.

So yesterday PFF came out with its latest First Round mock draft. Guess who wasn’t there? A consensus All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist Jabrill Peppers of the Michigan Wolverines.

Now that article is admittedly the opinion of one PFF analyst, Steve Palazzolo. But it seems hard to believe that Peppers won’t be a first rounder. To be fair, that isn’t the only surprise in Palazzolo’s list. But what is your thought? Is Peppers more hype than production? Or will his incredible athletic skills translate regardless of college metrics.


Penn State basketball notes: a roller coaster ride so far

It’s a story that Penn State basketball fans have seen played out for a number of years now. The Nittany Lions just can’t seem to get over the hump to become conference contenders or consistent NCAA tournament participants.

The latest example of Penn State’s battle for attention among NCAA tournament contenders was a resounding thud, a 19-point loss to George Mason.

Here are some other PSU basketball notes:


Bowl Preview: Northwestern vs. Pitt

Remember when Northwestern football was synonomous with ineptitude? It wasn’t really that long ago.

But under head coach and former linebacking star Pat Fitzgerald, the Wildcats are consistently at or near the top half of the BIG. This year a 6-6 campaign netted Northwestern a date in the Pinstripe Bowl with Pitt led by head coach and former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. The Panthers (8-4) will be a touch matchup against the Wildcats given Pitt defeated both Clemson and Penn State this year, two of the top five ranked teams at the end of the regular season.

Here are some other interesting links about this upcoming bowl game:

What happened to Michigan State football this year?

That’s the question all Spartan fans have following a shocking 3-9 season that saw MSU win just one BIG conference game. Graduations, players being dismissed, youth, injuries and some coaching mistakes from Mark Dantonio and his staff all played a role, not to mention lacklaster and inconsistent quarterback play.

As MSU heads into an early offseason, here are some links about what may have happened this year in East Lansing and how the Spartans can recover.

Saturday’s BIG Hoops roundup

A quick primer at a decent Saturday of BIG basketball:

Bowl preview: Minnesota versus Washington State

Bowl games are becoming pretty commonplace in Minneapolis as the Golden Gophers are headed to their fifth consecutive bowl game.

The match-up with Washington State’s high-powered passing offense in the Holiday Bowl on December 27 should be entertaining. Dubbed the “Air Raid,” the Cougars are a slight favorite (around 4.5 to 6.5-point favorites) courtesy of the betting lines. Here are some other links about this upcoming bowl game.

Fickell takes over at Cincy. OSU’s Ed Warinner next?

With many other job openings having been filled, it was about time for Cincinnati to make a decision on its open coaching job. And Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is the guy who has been hired.

What else do Buckeyes fans need to know?

Purdue football links: the Jeff Brohm era

Want to get your fill of Jeff Brohm, Boilermaker fans? Here are several links from the last couple of days.

And an interesting story in the New York Times that is about Purdue top some extent, but is as much about the “have’s” and the “have not’s” in major college football as anything else.

Illinois football and year 1 of the Lovie Smith experiment

So Illinois is one of the few BIG programs not going to a bowl, but things could be getting better downstate. Next year should say a lot about the direction of the program.

Here are a few links to stories related to Illinois football and head coach Lovie Smith. Is he the right guy to restore the Illini to orange-clad glory?


Comparing J.T. Barrett to other Heisman finalists

Okay so here @BigTenRumors (BTR if you will) we’re just saying…

  • DeShaun Watson, Clemson in 2016 – 3,914 yards passing, 67.6% completions, 37 TDs, 15 INTs, 529 yards rushing, 6 TDs, 4.1 ypc
  • Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma in 2016 – 3,669 yards passing, 71.2% completions, 38 TDs, 8 INTs, 143 yards rushing, 6 TDs, 1.9 ypc
  • Jake Browning, Washington in 2016 – 3,280 yards passing, 63.2% completions, 42 TDs, 7 INTs, 66 yards rushing,  4 TDs, 1.2 ypc
  • J.T. Barrett in 2016 – 2,428 yards passing, 62% completions, 24 TDs, 5 INTs, 847 yards rushing, 9 TDs, 4.4 ypc

Both Watson and Barrett saw their individual numbers and QB ratings get worse this year while Mayfield and Browning improved. Barrett should not be a Heisman finalist as his chances decreased drastically during the year. So did some of his peripherals. And as Eleven Warriors surmises Barrett should return to Columbus for his senior season.

It is interesting though to predict what Barrett may do in 2017. It would seem likely his numbers should improve although Mayfield may be the favorite heading into the year. The gulf statistically between Barrett and those other QBs listed above was wide – although rushing yards and relatively low interceptions are positive signs.

And of course Browning somehow isn’t even a finalist this year!?

Perhaps question #1 going into next year – or for the College Football Playoff for that matter – for Urban Meyer is: how can the Buckeyes passing game head in the right direction again?