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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

NFL/NCAA Season Recap

I actually cannot believe that the NFL/NCAA Football seasons are already over after six months of fascinating stories that culminated with the Alabama Crimson Tide and the New York Giants being crowned as the Champions.

I easily had my worst time ever picking NFL games as the weekly results kept throwing up surprises, something I have put down to the lockout inspired season. There are some results I will never understand, for example seeing the New Orleans Saints lose, indoors no less, to the St Louis Rams as the 14 point favourites.

Or how about the thought that the Super Bowl Champions, the Giants, lost twice to the Washington Redskins and also to Seattle at home.

It was a season dominated by stories concerning Andrew Luck and the 'Suck for Luck' sweepstakes that were eventually 'won' by the Indianapolis Colts, although that does mean that we are VERY unlikely to be seeing Peyton Manning play in the Blue again.

The Manning story looks to dominate the next month before free agency starts as we get closer and closer to the March 8th deadline when he is due a roster bonus from the Colts, or will be cut from the team. Then we will get the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins fighting for the signature, as well as Matt Flynn from the Green Bay Packers.

The NCAA season was much better in terms of reading the games, although it wouldn't have taken much for a blind monkey to do well on that front considering the favourites were dominant against the spread for much of the early part of the season.

The top 6-10 teams in the nation were head and shoulders clear of the rest and has once again got people clamouring for a Play Off system after Alabama were controversially picked to play the LSU Tigers in New Orleans for the National Championship. It seems the prospect of the top 4 being invited into a Semi Final and then a Final has been raised again and could potentially be brought in for the 2014 season.

We have already got through 'Signing Day' for new College recruits, and the next 4-5 months we will get to see which teams have begun filling in the gaps the most effectively. At the moment, the LSU Tigers look to be in a great position to get back to the National Championship Game and possibly go one further, although all the stories will be about the Bowl Eligible USC Trojans who have been given a boost by the returning Matt Barkley at QB.

Fortunately, we will not have daily updates of how the Labour Negotiations are going, like we did last season, and the NFL will revert to a familiar pattern moving forward to the Draft in April. That also means we will get the 'excitement' of free agency from March 13th, although I have generally been disappointed with the action the Miami Dolphins take when that comes about.

Looking ahead at this early stage to the next season, you would imagine the likes of Green Bay, New Orleans and the New York Giants will be the leading contenders in the NFC, with the likes of Philadelphia and Detroit being definite dark horses to upset the apple cart.

The AFC has less teams that can really make an impact in my mind, with New England, Houston, Baltimore and Pittsburgh being the leading teams before Free Agency and the Draft have been completed. We could see another improvement from Cincinnati if they are smart in the Draft, while I expect better from the New York Jets and San Diego.

Seeing how the next four months develop will help sharpen these thoughts in what was another entertaining season at both College and professional levels.

NCAA Season 2011-12: 63-36, + 23.25 Units

NFL Season 2011-12: 80-83-2, - 13.72 Units

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